Texas attorney Kay Van Wey has learned that a new type 2 diabetes and cholesterol-lowering combination drug is no longer being developed by Merck. The new drug would have included popular diabetes drug Januvia. A spokesperson for Merck issued a statement that the decision to stop the development of the combination drug, known as MK-0431E was due to unspecified business reasons and was not due to safety concerns.
In November 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported that Merck & Co. discontinued development of the new medication, which combined diabetic drug Januvia with the statin drug Lipitor. The combination tablet was proposed by Merck as a possible treatment for diabetic patients also suffering from heart problems. Merck began clinical testing of the combination drug, hoping to submit the drug for FDA approval in 2014. This is the second combination that Merck has discontinued in the past several months.
Januvia Linked to Pancreatic Cancer
Januvia works by increasing the amount of insulin produced and secreted by the pancreas when blood sugar levels are high. Januvia also works to reduce the amount of glucose produced by the liver. Januvia may cause pancreatic cancer, and several patients have reported developing pancreatic cancer while on Januvia. The drug may also be associated with the development of bladder cancer and pancreatitis, which is an inflammation of the pancreas.
Januvia was originally approved by the FDA on October 16, 2006 as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. Januvia is commonly used along with diet changes and exercise programs.
Given the serious complications associated with Januvia, many are wondering why Merck suddenly discontinued its development of the combination drug after conducting lengthy and expensive clinical trials. However, more evidence is emerging that Januvia causes pancreatic cancer in patients.
Other Combination Drugs Contain Januvia
Januvia is Merck’s top-selling drug. Since Januvia first became available in 2006, Merck has combined other medications with Januvia, including Juvisnyc, a fixed-dose combination of Januvia and Zocor, a simvastatin drug. Juvisnyc was approved by the FDA in October 2011. Juvisync was developed to lower cholesterol in diabetic patients. Zocor, which is a popular statin medication, was Merck’s top selling drug prior to the approval of Januvia. The new combination drug, MK-0431E, was intended to be similar to Juvisync, but the combination would have included Januvia and Lipitor, a widely-prescribed statin drug.
Merck started Phase III clinical trials at the end of 2011. Citing a Merck spokesperson, the Wall Street Journal reported that there were no safety issues associated with the combination drug. Merck has seen declining sales of other combination drugs, including Vytorin.
Januvia Pancreatic Cancer Lawsuit
Drug recall attorney Kay Van Wey is currently investigating claims that Januvia caused pancreatic cancer in type 2 diabetes patients. If your loved one is suffering with pancreatic cancer or died from pancreatic cancer while taking Januvia, you deserve to have an advocate on your side. Call Ms. Van Wey for a free confidential consultation at (800) 489-5082 or email her directly at Kay@vanweylaw.com.
To learn more about Januvia and pancreatic cancer, read:
- Manufacturers of Januvia and Byetta Accused of Concealing Pancreatic Cancer Risk with Popular Diabetes Drugs
- World Diabetes Day Highlights Januvia and Byetta Pancreatic Cancer Risk
- Type-2 Diabetes Drugs May Cause Pancreatic Cancer
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