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Two drugs for type 2 diabetes seem to raise risk of acute pancreatitis, study shows

BMJ 2013; 346 doi: (Published 27 February 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f1304
  1. Deborah Cohen
  1. 1BMJ

People with type 2 diabetes who take exenatide and sitagliptin have double the risk of hospitalisation for acute pancreatitis as people who use other antidiabetes drugs, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine concludes, though the absolute risk is still low.1

Both drugs are glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP1) based treatments and have previously been shown to cause acute pancreatitis in rodents and also to lead to focal proliferation in the exocrine pancreas in mice.

Reports of acute pancreatitis in humans have previously been published, the researchers, from Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, write. But “the strength of this association and causality cannot be inferred from these reports,” they say.

So the lead author, Sonal Singh, assistant professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and colleagues, analysed data from seven BlueCross BlueShield health insurance plans in the United States between 1 February 2005 and 31 December 2008.

They identified 1269 people with type 2 diabetes who filled at least one prescription for any drug to treat the disease between 2005 and 2008 and matched them with 1269 people with …

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