When Incretin Mimetics Kill: What Bereaved Families Need To Know

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When Incretin Mimetics Kill: What Bereaved Families Need To Know

20 November 2014
 Categories: Law, Articles

People with type 2 diabetes commonly use one of several prescription medicines known as incretin mimetics. These drugs can help control the symptoms of the disease, but they can also cause serious side effects, and some type 2 diabetics have even died as a result of these medications. In some cases, the bereaved families of the victims can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Learn how incretin mimetics can kill, and find out what you need to do to file a lawsuit over your loved one's death.

How incretin mimetics work

Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your body's ability to process the sugar you need for energy. Type 2 diabetics may not produce enough insulin to regulate sugar in the body, or they may become resistant to the effects of the hormone. Over time, the symptoms of type 2 diabetes can lead to serious health issues, including heart disease, kidney damage and problems with the feet.

Incretin is the hormone that tells your body to release insulin after food, which then lowers the blood sugar. Incretin mimics take the place of these hormones in your body, prompting your pancreas to produce more insulin. The drugs also stop the pancreas producing too much glucagon, which forces the liver to release stored sugar.

When you use the drugs as part of an active, healthy lifestyle, incretin mimetics can effectively help people with type 2 diabetes keep up safe levels of blood sugar.

FDA approval

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved several incretin mimetics as a way to treat patients with type 2 diabetes. Patients can receive these prescription medications under several brand names, but they all act in the same way. The FDA approved sitagliptin phosphate in 2006, and another form of the drug (sitagliptin/metformin hydrochloride) in 2007.

People with type 2 diabetes account for up to 95 percent of all cases of the disease. With 29.1 million diabetics in the United States, this represents a significant part of the population. As such, doctors have prescribed incretin mimetics to millions of Americans, and the problem continues to grow worse.

Side effects

Some patients have developed pancreatic cancer after using incretin mimetics. Experts believe that this disease will become the second most common cause of cancer-related deaths in the United States by 2030. This type of cancer is difficult to diagnose, and spreads aggressively. Doctors also have few available treatments, and the five-year survival rate is only around 5 percent.

Pancreatitis is another serious side effect that can occur in people who use incretin mimetics. The disease occurs when enzymes from the pancreas start to digest pancreatic tissue, instead of food in the small intestine. Chronic pancreatitis gets worse over time and causes permanent damage. Death from pancreatitis is not common, but the symptoms can kill.

FDA response to reports of side effects

In 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication about incretin mimetics. The FDA stated that they would investigate some research that suggests a link between these drugs and side effects like pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. The FDA had already issued a warning about reports of acute pancreatitis with some of these drugs, but this was the first time the organization had mentioned the potential risk of cancer.

Incretin mimetics carry warnings on the drug labels about potential side effects, but the FDA has advised patients to continue to take the medication.

Why people are filing lawsuits

A lot of people who have used incretin mimetics allege that the drug makers failed to warn them about the potential side effects from these medications. The lawsuits claim that the drugs are dangerous, and that the manufacturers actively marketed them, even though they knew they were potentially deadly.

The families of incretin mimetic victims have successfully filed wrongful death lawsuits. The families allege that the manufacturers should have known the potential risks of these drugs, and have claimed that their loved ones suffered grievous bodily injury and untimely death.

You can claim compensation as part of a wrongful death lawsuit. Your family may face large, unpaid medical and home health care bills that you can't afford. You may also face an uncertain future, particularly if the deceased was the family's main income earner.

If someone in your family has died after using an incretin mimetic, you should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. An attorney cannot bring back your loved one, but he or she can help you get compensation for the financial losses you face. Look at more info about finding and hiring a good attorney for your situation.