Many people in the United States use the diabetes drug Januvia, which is marketed as a: “once-daily prescription pill that, along with diet and exercise, helps lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes.” The problem is that Januvia has been associated with pancreatic cancer and bullous pemphigoid.
What is Januvia?
Januvia (sitagliptin) is a type 2 diabetes drug manufactured by Merck & Co. Inc. It was approved by the Food and Drug Administration for general use in 2006. The drug works by regulating the amount of insulin produced by the body after meals. Januvia belongs to the dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor class, which is a group of drugs that use enzymes to stimulate the pancreas’ production of insulin. It has been speculated that this over-stimulation of the pancreas may be the cause of elevated rates of pancreatic cancer diagnoses in Januvia patients.
Conditions Linked To Januvia
Januvia has a number of side effects that patients are aware of when they are taking it. However, the diabetes pill may also be linked to two serious medical conditions that can have devastating outcomes:
Bullous pemphigoid – An acute or chronic autoimmune skin disease characterized by the formation of bullae (blisters) beneath the top layer of skin. Bullous pemphigoid is generally described as very painful.
Pancreatic Cancer – A condition where the cells in the pancreas multiply uncontrollably. This can spread to other organs in the body, resulting in death. There are close to a dozen sub classifications of pancreatic cancer.
Bullous Pemphigoid Symptoms
The causes of Bullous pemphigoid are not well understood. The disease usually appears in patients with increasing age. The disease presents as large blisters filled with fluid, but not easily ruptured. They may present in groups mimicking the appearance of a rash. The blisters usually appear on the lower abdomen, groin, upper thighs, and arms. Sometimes they are found in creases or folds in the skin. The blisters are almost always described as painful or itchy.
Bullous pemphigoid can only be diagnosed by a medical professional. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the following symptoms while, or after, taking Januvia, contact your doctor immediately:
- Large blisters
- Tenderness of skin
- Skin mirroring allergic reaction (with no exposure to allergens)
- Skin peeling
Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms
There are certain factors that can put patients at an increased risk for the development of pancreatic cancer. Some of these factors include a patient’s age, gender, weight, and family history. Doctors often refer to pancreatic cancer as a “silent killer” because it rarely presents symptoms in its early stages. This makes it extremely difficult to diagnose.
Pancreatic cancer can only be diagnosed by a licensed healthcare professional. If you or a loved one has experienced any of the following symptoms while, or after, taking Januvia, contact your doctor immediately:
- Yellow skin and eyes
- Darkening of the urine
- Clay-colored stool
- Pain in upper abdomen or upper back
- Painful swelling of an arm or leg
- Burning feeling in stomach or other gastrointestinal discomforts
- Stomach bloating
- Floating stools with a particularly bad odor and an unusual color
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Unexplained weight loss