Gum Disease Tied to Increased Diabetes Risk, May Lead to Increased Risks Tied to Some Type 2 Diabetes Drugs

gum_disease_linked_to_diseasesThe links between dental disease and other diseases have been growing, for instance dental disease has been tied to increased risks for developing diabetes and heart disease; pregnancy complications; and, potentially, dementia. Type 2 diabetes is typically treated with any of a variety of medications such as Actos, Januvia, and Byetta, three drugs in two very different classes of medications and which all have been associated with an array of serious adverse reactions.

Research seeks to learn if dental treatment may improve control of diseases such as diabetes. In fact, four studies are currently being conducted to better understand the connection, according to Bloomberg News. Should the research reveal a benefit to diabetes with improved dental care, the impact could be significant, especially given that a number of currently used Type 2 diabetes medications are linked with very serious side effects.

Diabetes Medication Complications

Incretin Mimetics: are a type of Type 2 diabetes medications that include natural substances that lower raised blood sugar levels. These drugs imitate the body’s incretin hormones, which stimulate the release of insulin after meal consumption. Incretin mimetics include Byetta and Bydureon (exenatide); Victoza (liraglutide); Januvia, Janumet, Janumet XR, and Juvisync (sitagliptin); Onglyza and Kombiglyze XR (saxagliptin); Nesina, Kazano, and Oseni (alogliptin); and Tradjenta and Jentadueto (linagliptin). A review of U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) revealed increased pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer risks in patients taking incretin mimetics and the drugs’ contain boxed warning regarding increased risks for pancreatitis. Injury reports and research reveal that incretin mimetics have been associated with a number of serious adverse events, including:

  • Diseases of the pancreas such as acute, necrotizing, or hemorrhagic pancreatitis (pancreatitis is a known precursor to pancreatic cancer)
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Thyroid Cancer
  • Low blood sugar
  • Anaphylaxis and other allergic reactions, such as hives, rash, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and/or throat
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Anorexia
  • Persistent, severe abdominal pain, sometimes radiating to the back
  • Kidney Failure
  • Death

Actos: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration(FDA) has warned about the risks of taking Actos. In fact, on June 15, 2011, the agency said that taking Actos for more than one year could significantly increase risks of developing bladder cancer. The drug’s safety label was updated to address this risk. Other research supports the link between Actos and bladder cancer. The British Medical Journal published a study In May 2012 that revealed Actos users were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer after two years. A July 2012 Canadian Medical Association Journal report revealed that patients taking Actos were 22 percent likelier to develop bladder cancer. Some of the symptoms of bladder cancer are:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Frequent urination
  • Feeling pain when urinating

Lawsuits Mounting Over Type 2 Diabetes Drugs

Incretin Mimetics: injury lawsuits that allege serious illnesses such as pancreatitis and pancreatic and thyroid cancer, are on the rise across the United States. For instance, Januvia has been named in 53 lawsuits that have been filed in federal court; 43 lawsuits claim that Januvia caused pancreatic cancer, according to a recent regulatory filing made by Merck. More than 100 lawsuits representing 575 plaintiffs nationwide allege injury—typically pancreatitis—due to Byetta, according Bristol-Myers’ latest quarterly regulatory filing. For the most part, the lawsuits involve allegations that the makers of these drugs failed to provide sufficient warnings about the drugs’ connection to increased risks for serious adverse health reactions.

Actos: The makers of Actos (pioglitazone) have been embroiled in a growing number of lawsuits that allege the Type 2 diabetes drug caused them to develop bladder cancer. In the first of some 3,000 Actos injury lawsuits to go to trial, jurors found Takeda Pharmaceutical, the maker of Actos, must pay $6.5 million in damages to a California man who was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2011 and had taken Actos for more than four years.

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