In clinical trials, some patients on the anti-diabetic drug liraglutide—sold under the brand name Victoza—developed pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. Victoza’s label does not warn consumers about this risk.
What Is Victoza and What Is It Prescribed For?
Victoza is the brand name for the drug liraglutide. Made and sold by Danish pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk A/S, this prescription medication is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, and is often prescribed in conjunction with other anti-diabetic drugs such as metformin, sulfonylureas, and thiazolidinediones. On January 25, 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Victoza for use in connection with the treatment of diabetes.
Novo Nordisk sells Victoza in the form of an injectable solution at the strength of 18mg/3mL (6mg/mL). Users inject Victoza beneath the skin into the abdomen, upper arm, or thigh once daily.
Potential Side Effects Include Pancreatitis
Like Byetta, a similar GLP-1 Type II diabetes drug, Victoza can cause pancreatitis.
In clinical trials, seven pancreatitis cases developed. Five were acute (that is, sudden and severe) cases and the other two were chronic (i.e., long-developing). One of the seven Victoza users suffered pancreal necrosis and subsequently died, though the FDA does not know if Victoza was at all responsible.
The Victoza label describes the symptoms of pancreatitis as “persistent severe abdominal pain, sometimes radiating to the back and which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting.”
Victoza can also cause infection, tissue damage, hemorrhaging, and cellular necrosis. If the pancreas hemorrhages, the released fluids can damage nearby internal organs. Acute pancreatitis can also be fatal.
Potential Side Effects Include Thyroid Cancer
On March 14, 2013, the FDA issued a drug safety communication informing the public that it is evaluating unpublished findings by researchers indicating that connected Victoza with pancreatitis and cellular changes called “pancreatic duct metaplasia.” The agency is requesting the researchers provide it with their research methodology and tissue samples they used.
Prior to the FDA’s 2010 approval of Victoza for use in connection with the treatment of diabetes, the agency began questioning whether Victoza causes thyroid cancer because studies showed that Byetta, a similar GLP-1 Type II diabetes drug, might. The FDA found that, at “clinically relevant exposures,” Victoza causes the formation of thyroid C-cell tumors in rodents.
The FDA requires that Victoza packaging bear a “black box” label, the agency’s most serious warning, informing consumers of this risk and stating that Victoza should not be prescribed by those with a family history of MTC or those with Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome type 2.
Due to the growing number of Victoza lawsuits, in late July 2013, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) heard arguments by Victoza users who were suing Novo Nordisk, as well as from users of similar incretin mimetic drugs, to consolidate their cases into a multidistrict litigation (MDL). The JPML was hesitant to merge cases brought against multiple manufacturers, but it determined that there were sufficient common issues of fact and law to make the consolidation worthwhile. The JPML transferred the MDL to the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California before Judge Anthony J. Battaglia. It is captioned IN RE: Incretin-Based Therapies Products Liability Litigation (MDL – 2452).
RLG Will Make Things Easier
The process of demanding compensation for the harm you’ve suffered can be complicated, even if it doesn’t seem fair that you should have to go through even more trouble to be made whole again. The lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group believe that getting satisfaction shouldn’t be just more hardship. That’s why we do everything we can to streamline the process, and we will file a Victoza lawsuit on your behalf if necessary.
If you have taken Victoza and believe it caused you to develop pancreatic cancer, contact RLG today.