Patients who have suffered from pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or thyroid cancer while taking Victoza may be eligible to pursue a claim and seek financial compensation.
Victoza is an antidiabetic medication that belongs to a new class of drugs that mimic blood-regulating hormones in the pancreas. The FDA has received reports that the drug increases the risk of certain cancers, specifically thyroid and pancreatic cancer. As a result, lawsuits are being filed against Victoza’s manufacturer, Novo Nordisk, for failing to warn the public about its dangers.
If you or a loved one was treated with Victoza and developed pancreatic or thyroid cancer, contact Maxwell Law Group LLP today. We can answer your questions and review your case for free.
What is Victoza?
Victoza (generic name: liraglutide) is a type 2 diabetes prescription medication administered by subcutaneous injection. It is classified under the drug class incretin mimetics, which mimic pancreatic hormones for blood glucose regulation. It is usually given when other medications have been proven to be ineffective in managing the disease.
The FDA approved Victoza in 2010 for adults with type 2 diabetes to help them manage diabetes and to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in these patients. Victoza is manufactured by Novo Nordisk, whose sales reportedly grew by 16% solely for the antidiabetic drug in 2017 by an estimated $3.65 billion.
Victoza Quick Facts
Medication for type 2 diabetes
Pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and thyroid cancer
How Does Victoza Work?
Victoza is an incretin mimetic, also known as glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor agonist. These drugs function by copying the effects of natural incretin hormones to lower blood sugar levels after eating. It works in three ways:
- Stimulates the release of insulin before blood sugar levels rise
- Inhibits the release of glucagon to prevent the release of stored sugar into the bloodstream
- Slows glucose absorption by delaying gastric emptying
Risks and Warnings
Common side effects of Victoza include:
- Stomach pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
In 2013, the FDA released a safety communication stating that the agency was evaluating research that associated incretin mimetics with an increased risk of pancreatitis and pre-cancer cellular changes.
Later on, a black box warning was also released about the risk of developing thyroid C-cell tumors, as observed in rodents. It mentioned human relevance was unknown because it could not be determined by the studies existing at the time. Victoza is not recommended for patients suffering from medullary thyroid cancer and Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia syndrome.
Other warnings include pancreatitis, as patients taking Victoza were observed to have more cases of the disease than others who were treated with a different medication, serious hypoglycemia, and possible macrovascular outcomes.
Injuries from Victoza
The American Diabetes Association published a study in 2015 that looked into the link of liraglutide (Victoza) and pancreatitis. The study reviewed data from Novo Nordisk–sponsored trials completed by 2013, which included 6,345 patients taking liraglutide, 1,846 patients on comparator medications, and 825 taking a placebo. Acute pancreatitis was recorded in 8 patients from the liraglutide group and only 1 from the comparator group. Moreover, 4 cases of chronic pancreatitis were observed in those taking liraglutide; no such events were recorded from the active comparator group.
A study conducted in 2011 looked into the relationship of glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) therapies and pancreatitis. The FDA’s database was examined for those related to incretin mimetics from 2004 to 2009. It was concluded that GLP-1 increased the odds of pancreatitis six-fold, and cautioned about the potential long-term effects of the drugs in relation to pancreatic cancer.
In a more recent article published in the Journal of Environmental Science and Health in 2015, related literature regarding experimental animal and observational human studies were reviewed, and it was concluded that there is a probable role of GLP-1 on activation and development of pancreatic cancer cells in rodents. Whether or not the same causal link exists in humans is still inconclusive.
In September 2017, Novo Nordisk agreed to pay $58 million in relation to the company’s failure to comply with the FDA’s protocols. In particular, the manufacturer failed to comply with the requirements of the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) because Novo Nordisk did not disclose accurate information about the drug’s associated risk with medullary thyroid cancer. The complaint also claims that the company created false and misleading information about the REMS-required message and left some physicians unaware of Victoza’s risks.
Pending lawsuits against Novo Nordisk for Victoza have been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL No. 2452) together with other antidiabetic medications Januvia, Janumet, and Byetta. The lawsuits claim that the company failed to warn the public about the risks of Victoza related to pancreatic diseases. While the case was dismissed in 2015, the decision was reversed in December 2017 by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit. The cases are now being heard in the Southern District of California US District Court.
How Maxwell Law Group Can Help
If you or your loved one suffered from pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or thyroid cancer after taking Victoza, Maxwell Law Group can help get you the compensation you deserve. Call (844) 525-7155 or fill out the form below and we’ll investigate your case at no charge to you.
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