Januvia FAQs

Published on July 30, 2013 by Sandy Liebhard

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If you or someone you love were diagnosed with pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer while taking Januvia, you may have a claim against Merck & Co., the manufacturer of this popular Type 2 diabetes drug. Januvia lawsuits have already been filed in courts around the country that seek compensation for alleged victims ‘medical bills, lost wages and other damages. If you are thinking about filing your own Januvia lawsuit, please read on for answers to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions about the litigation surrounding Januvia.

What is Januvia?

Januvia is a Type 2 diabetes medicine that is part of a class known as incretin mimetics. When combined with diet and exercise, Januvia can lower blood sugar levels in people with this disease. An oral medication, Januvia is sometimes prescribed with other Type 2 diabetes medicines. Merck also markets Janumet, a medication that combines sitagliptin – the active ingredient in Januvia – with metformin.

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How Does Januvia Work?

Januvia inhibits the DPP-4 enzymes in the body which destroy GLP-1 (glucagon-like peptide-1) and GIP (glucose-dependent isnsulinotropic polypeptide). Both GLP-1 and GIP are incretin hormones that help to reduce glucose levels in the blood.

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How popular is Januvia?

Januvia is one of Merck & Co.’s best-selling drugs, and accounted for 12% of its sales in the first quarter of 2013. In 2012, the Januvia generated $4.1 billion in revenue for the company.

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What are some potential Januvia side effects?

According to the drug’s label, patients taking Januvia may experience:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Swelling of the mouth, face, lips, or tongue
  • Fever, chills, or persistent sore throat
  • Red, blistered, swollen, or peeling skin
  • Lactic acidosis

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Why is Januvia the subject of lawsuits?

A growing body of research has found a link between the use of incretin mimetics, like Januvia, and pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and thyroid cancer.

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Has the FDA issued any Januvia warnings?

Yes. In 2009, the FDA ordered Merck to add a caution to the Januvia label regarding a potential association with pancreatitis. The FDA acted after it became aware of 88 post-marketing cases of acute pancreatitis in patients taking Januvia. In March 2013, the FDA announced it had opened a safety review of Januvia and other incretin mimetics after a small study indicated use of these drugs could cause precancerous changes to the cells of the cervix.

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Have any other studies raised concerns about Januvia?

Yes. Januvia appeared to increase the risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis in a study published in 2011 in Gastroenterology. Two cases of thyroid cancer were also reported in the group of study patients who took Januvia. In February 2013, a study that appeared in JAMA Internal Medicine reported that drugs like Januvia might double the risk for pancreatic cancer.

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How prevalent are reports of Januvia pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis and thyroid cancer?

In April 2013, the Institute for Safe Medicine Practices took a look at Januvia adverse event reports made to the FDA. The group discovered that during the 12 month period ending in June 2012, the agency had received reports of 177 possible cases of Januvia pancreatitis, 18 cases of Januvia pancreatic cancer, and a single case of thyroid cancer in a Januvia patient. The ISMP also asserted that its review had shown that incretin mimetics, as a class, were 25 times more likely to be linked to pancreatic cancer compared to other diabetes drugs.

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Were patients and doctors adequately warned about Januvia risks?

Plaintiffs in Januvia lawsuits allege that they were not. In June 2013, the British Medical Journal published an investigation that appeared to add credence to those claims. Among other things, the investigation brought to light previously unpublished data that indicated the manufacturers of incretin mimetics may have downplayed the drugs’ potential to harm the pancreas.

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Has there been a Januvia recall?

No. Despite growing evidence of their risks, there has been no recall of Januvia or other incretin mimetics. However, in March 2013 the group Public Citizen expressed concern about the drugs’ association with pancreatic cancer, and asserted that they should be pulled from the market.

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What type of compensation might be available to victims of Januvia side effects?

Patients who developed pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, or thyroid cancer as a result of Januvia may be entitled to compensation for any damages related to their illness, including:

  • Medical bills
  • Lost Wages
  • Pain and suffering
  • Permanent disability
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Emotional distress

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Are families of Januvia patients who died of pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or thyroid cancer eligible for compensation?

The loved ones of patients who died due to Januvia-related illnesses may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit to obtain compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, future lost wages and other damages. While no amount of compensation can eliminate the pain of such a loss, compensation from a Januvia wrongful death lawsuit can allow families to regain some of the financial security they may have lost due to their loved one’s death.

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If I file, will I be joining a Januvia class action lawsuit?

No. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is filing individual Januvia lawsuits on behalf of patients who developed pancreatic cancer, pancreatitis or thyroid cancer. Our attorneys believe that because medical bills, lost wages, and other damages suffered by Januvia plaintiffs vary widely, individual filings will best serve our clients.

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Is the Januvia litigation expected to be large?

Yes. In anticipation of a large number of Januvia lawsuits, plaintiffs with claims against the makers of Januvia and other incretin mimetics have proposed that all federally-filed lawsuits be consolidated in a multidistrict litigation and transferred to a single federal court for pretrial proceedings. Merck & Co. has voiced support for the proposal.

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How expensive is it to file a Januvia lawsuit?

If you’re worried about paying legal fees, don’t be. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is representing Januvia clients on a contingency basis. That means our firm is not paid any attorney’s fees or expenses unless a recovery is made. So if your case is not resolved in your favor, you won’t have to pay Bernstein Liebhard LLP a single dollar. If your case is successful, our fees will be paid out of your recovery. The details of this arrangement will be completely and clearly spelled out in the retainer you sign with the firm.

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Are there any deadlines for filing a Januvia lawsuit that I should be aware of?

Yes. Januvia lawsuits are subject to statutes of limitations that vary from state to state. Most states give plaintiffs harmed by a defective product a specific amount of time in which to file a claim. For that reason, you should contact Bernstein Liebhard LLP as soon as possible, so that our attorneys can ensure your legal rights aren’t put at risk.

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Will my lawsuit name my doctor as a defendant?

No. Bernstein Liebhard LLP is filing product liability claims on behalf of Januvia lawsuit clients that allege Merck concealed the risks associated with the drug from doctors and patients.

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I do not live in New York State. Can Bernstein Liebhard LLP still represent me in my Januvia lawsuit?

Yes. While our headquarters is located in New York City, we are able to represent clients in all 50 states.

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How do I start the process of filing Januvia lawsuit?

If you are ready to file a Januvia lawsuit, you can start the process simply by picking up the phone and calling Bernstein Liebhard LLP. You’ll be put in touch with Januvia lawyers and legal staff that have recovered more than $3 billion on behalf of injured consumers. Our attorneys will evaluate your case for free, and advise you on the best course of action for you and your family. Please don’t hesitate to contact us today at .

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