Regulators in Europe Endorse Safety of a Class of Diabetes Drugs

Many diabetes patients will be comforted to know that, at the end of July, 2013, the European Medicines Agency reached the conclusion that there is little evidence that a group of diabetes drugs could cause inflammation of the pancreas, or, more importantly, pancreatic cancer.

The group of drugs includes Januvia, Byetta, Victoza and others, whose safety is presently under review by the Food and Drug Administration.

The concerns about the safety of the drugs have been raised primarily by a researcher at the University of California over the past few years.

In his most recent study, after examining the pancreas of 34 post-mortem diabetes patients, he concluded the pancreases of those who had used these drugs had more signs of inflammation and precancerous changes.

However, the European agency felt the study contained sources of bias and limitations, making it difficult to draw these conclusions. In addition, the agency said clinical trials thus far have shown no increased risk of pancreatic cancer.

The F.D.A. is continuing its review, but agreed that there is no cause for concern based on our current knowledge.

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