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Januvia has been linked to an increased risk of developing pancreatic cancer.

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Januvia Type II Diabetes Drug

Januvia, Merck & Company’s brand name for sitagliptin, is a once daily anti-diabetic medication for patients with type 2 diabetes. Approved by the FDA in 2006, Januvia is used to control blood sugar levels and has been prescribed to millions of patients in 80 countries.

Januvia inhibits the enzyme dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) which extends the life of the hormones that stimulate insulin production. This action causes the body to absorb more sugar, thus decreasing high levels of sugar in the blood.

However, Januvia has also been shown to cause negative effects on the body. Studies now suggest that Januvia and similar diabetes medications may be associated with increased rates of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer among users.

In 2009, the FDA warned of increased pancreatitis risks linked to Januvia. This came after the agency received nearly 90 reports of Januvia users developing pancreatitis in just over two years. Because of this, Merck was required to add label warnings, but the drug was allowed to remain on the market.

Then, in 2011, a study from the University of California at Los Angeles uncovered additional adverse effects from using Januvia: a 600 percent increased risk of pancreatitis, a 270 percent increased risk of pancreatic cancer, and a 148 percent increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Unfortunately for consumers, Merck knew as early as 2008 about the risks and did not warn its users. Therefore, Merck is liable for damages. Lawyers are now helping patients who were affected to file lawsuits.

If you or a family member were diagnosed with thyroid cancer or pancreatic cancer following Januvia use, a lawyer can discuss your case to let you know what help is available. Contact us today for more information.

januvia side effects

Side Effects

The following common side effects of Januvia may occur in varying degrees:
  • Headache
  • Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain
  • Upper respiratory infections
  • Stuffy or runny nose and sore throat
  • Blood work showing elevated liver enzymes

In the past few years, studies have shown that Januvia may also be linked to pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer. Januvia users should monitor for side effects; pancreatic cancer is one of the leading causes of cancer death. In addition, listed below are symptoms of pancreatic cancer:

  • Weight loss
  • Persistent loss of appetite
  • Pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes radiates to the back
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) with itching
  • Dark urine or light colored stools
  • Nausea
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating and swelling of the abdomen
  • Blood clots

Listed below are the common symptoms of thyroid cancer:

  • Lump or nodule in front of neck
  • Persistent or chronic cough
  • Pain in the upper abdomen that sometimes radiates to the back
  • Pain in neck/throat, including pain from neck to ears
  • Asymmetry in the thyroid (front of neck)
  • Neck sensitivity (discomfort from ties or necklaces, for example)

Merck & Co.

Januvia is manufactured by the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. Since its FDA approval in 2006, Januvia has been sold in over 80 countries worldwide and is the latest of several of Merck's controversial drugs.

Merck's headquarters is in Whitehouse Station, New Jersey. With 51,000 employees in 120 countries and 31 factories worldwide, it is one of the seven largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Januvia, Fosamax, Propecia, Singulair, Vytorin, Zocor, and NuvaRing are some of the well-known medications produced by Merck today.

Vioxx, a top selling arthritis drug, was voluntarily recalled by Merck in 2004 after studies linked it to strokes and heart attacks. Approximately 50,000 Merck lawsuits were filed with settlements totaling nearly $5 billion.

More recently, Merck has seen tens of thousands of lawsuits from patients for Vioxx and NuvaRing. It is alleged that these drugs can cause strokes and heart attacks, as well as pulmonary embolisms and deep vein thrombosis, respectively.


There is currently no Januvia class action lawsuit, but individual lawsuits against Merck for their failure to warn patients about their defective product can be filed. Often, these lawsuits are combined in a single court. This can provide greater compensation for the patient than a class action lawsuit.

If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with pancreatic or thyroid cancer after taking Januvia, help is available. When selecting an attorney, make sure you choose someone who has experience with this type of case and the resources to litigate against large pharmaceutical corporations. DrugNews only recommends law firms that have already handled diabetes medication or Januvia lawsuits.

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