Linagliptin is a medication that doctors prescribe for people with type 2 diabetes. As part of a healthy lifestyle, linagliptin (sometimes prescribed in a branded form) can help patients control the symptoms of the disease, but some people experience serious side effects. If your doctor has prescribed the medication for you or someone you love, learn more about the potential side effects, and the injuries that some people experience when they take the drug.
How linagliptin affects the body
Linagliptin is a DPP-4 inhibitor, and works by helping the body produce natural chemicals that can help lower blood sugar. People with type 2 diabetes are unable to control blood sugar on their own because their bodies don't produce insulin in the right way, so DPP-4 inhibitors like linagliptin help tackle this problem.
You can't take linagliptin if you suffer from type 1 diabetes because this means your body cannot produce insulin at all. People with a dangerously high level of blood sugar (diabetic ketoacidosis) cannot take this medication either.
Doctors normally prescribe linagliptin as a tablet, which you take daily. Linagliptin sometimes interacts adversely with other drugs, vitamins and natural supplements, so you should always tell your doctor about any other medications you are taking. You won't necessarily have to stop taking the medication, but you may need to change the dose. Herbal products like St. John's wort can also cause complications.
Common side effects
Linagliptin sometimes causes joint or muscle pain. Some patients also experience a headache when they take the drug. These symptoms will often subside over time, but if the pain gets worse, you should talk to your doctor. That aside, the drug can also cause more serious side effects.
Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas where natural enzymes start to attack the organ. Over time, pancreatitis can lead to tissue damage, bleeding and infection. This infection can spread to other organs in the body, and cysts may also develop in the pancreas. Acute pancreatitis is a more severe version of the condition that kills between 5 and 10 percent of hospitalized patients.
Analysis shows that patients who take DPP-4 inhibitors are 2.9 times more likely to develop pancreatic cancer. A 2013 study found that DPP-4 inhibitors also caused melanoma, prostate cancer and lung cancer in animal models. The researchers recommended further studies into the long-term effects of these drugs.
Pancreatic cancer is difficult to detect, and doctors are often only able to diagnose the disease at an advanced stage. The disease can also lead to other serious side effects, including bile duct obstruction. In many cases, patients need further surgery to deal with this problem.
FDA approval of linagliptin
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved linagliptin to treat type 2 diabetes in 2011. According to the FDA, clinical studies with around 4,000 patients proved that the drug was effective, although, at that time, these tests did not include patients who were using insulin. In 2012, the FDA went on to approve linagliptin prescriptions for insulin patients.
In June 2013, the FDA implemented a safety label change for linagliptin. The warning advised doctors of reports of acute pancreatitis in linagliptin patients, and warned them to take notice of any potential signs or symptoms of the disease.
The same year, the FDA issued a safety communication about several drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, including linagliptin. The communication responds to research that suggests these medications increase the risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancerous changes in the body. The document advises the public and health care professionals that the FDA will continue to investigate the research.
In the meantime, doctors can continue to prescribe this medication, and the manufacturers continue to market the drug. Some people with linagliptin complications have now filed personal injury lawsuits, and, if more evidence comes to light, the manufacturers are likely to face more legal action.
Linagliptin can help people with type 2 diabetes manage their symptoms, but the drug can also cause serious injuries. If you have suffered a linagliptin injury, contact a personal injury attorney for more info.