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Merck, Bristol Diabetes Drugs Linked to Pancreatitis Risk

Diabetes drugs sold by Merck & Co. and Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. may double a user’s risk of developing an inflammation of the pancreas linked to cancer and kidney failure, an analysis of insurance records shows.

Patients hospitalized with pancreatitis were twice as likely to be taking Januvia, Merck’s top-selling drug, or using Bristol-Myers’s Byetta, than a control group of diabetics who didn’t have pancreatitis, according to the analysis today in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine. Both drugs increase GLP-1, a hormone that stimulates insulin production from the pancreas.