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Januvia, also known as sitagliptin phosphate, is being investigated by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a potentially dangerous drug.  This medication is also available in combination with metformin in a pill known as Janumet.  Although the FDA has issued a safety alert, Januvia and Janumet remain on the market.

Januvia, manufactured and sold by Merck & Co., Inc., is a prescription medication used to control blood sugar levels for people with Type II diabetes.  Januvia was approved by the FDA on October 16, 2006, and nearly 6 million prescriptions had been written by 2010. In the second quarter of 2007, Januvia sales totaled $144 million.

Reports of serious allergic reactions and a potentially fatal skin condition called Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (“SJS”) began soon after Januvia was placed on the market.

By October 2009, the FDA ordered Merck & Co. to update the warning labels on packaging for Januvia and Janumet to include a warning for risk of acute pancreatitis, based on 88 cases of pancreatitis reported to the FDA between October 2006 and February 2009.  An FDA review found that over half of the pancreatitis cases resolved when Januvia was stopped.

Recent studies at UCLA found a six-fold increase in pancreatitis among users of Januvia and Janumet when compared to four other diabetes medications. Researchers also found that Januvia and Janumet patients were nearly three times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer.

If you or someone you know has suffered adverse effects due to Januvia, contact the Ohio dangerous drug lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List.

Source: MedCompare, News, Suggests Possible Link Between Two Type 2 Diabetes Drugs and Pancreatic Cancer,” Sept. 19, 2011.