Hemorrhagic pancreatitis, often a fatal disorder, occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed and the tissue of the organ breaks down. Areas of dead tissue form on its surface and blood hemorrhages into the substance of the pancreas and surrounding tissues.
The symptoms of hemorrhagic pancreatitis include:
Hemorrhagic pancreatitis can have a number of causes. Recently, it has been found that certain drugs have been linked to this disorder, including some drugs given for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Some medications that are reportedly linked to hemorrhagic pancreatitis include:
Both medications, manufactured by Merck & Co., are newer drugs and the first in a new class of medications called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. Both contain sitagliptin, which has been, reportedly, linked to 88 cases of acute pancreatitis, two of which are hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis. The medications are given by injection.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), in September 2009, revised the prescribing information to include reported occurrences of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Janumet® and Januvia®.
Byetta®, made by Amylin, is the trade name for exenatide. It, like Januvia® and Janumet®, is an injectable medication for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes.
In October 2007, the FDA issued an alert saying it had reviewed 30 cases of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Byetta® after it received marketing approval. It advised healthcare professionals to tell their patients to see the doctor promptly if they experience unexplained persistent severe pain in the abdomen which might or might not be accompanied by vomiting.
The FDA asked Amylin, which agreed, to update label information on the medication to reflect the new information. In November 2009, the FDA distributed a news release issuing another warning about Byetta®. The warning this time was of potential kidney function problems in patients taking Byetta®.
"From April 2005 through October 2008," the release stated, "the FDA received 78 reports of problems with kidney function in patients using Byetta®."
Causes other than the above-mentioned drugs for hemorrhagic pancreatitis can include alcohol abuse, high triglyceride levels, autoimmune disease, damage to pancreas during surgery, and an accident.
For more information about hemorrhagic pancreatitis, or if you would like to speak with an attorney about a potential claim involving Byetta®, Januvia® or Janumet®, contact us today.