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Health Agencies Update
September 24, 2008

Exenatide Risk

JAMA. 2008;300(12):1403. doi:10.1001/jama.300.12.1403-c

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received several reports of severe pancreatitis and death among patients taking exenatide, a drug approved in 2005 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (http://www.fda.gov/medwatch/safety/2007/safety07.htm#Byetta). The FDA had previously warned physicians to carefully monitor for signs of pancreatitis in patients taking this drug.

Since the FDA first notified physicians of a potential association between exenatide and pancreatitis in October 2007, the agency has received 6 reports of patients developing hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis while taking the drug. All of the patients were hospitalized as a result; 2 died and 4 were recovering, according to the report. The drug was discontinued in all of the patients.