Onglyza, and a similar combination drug called Kombiglyze, were developed jointly by AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb to combat type 2 diabetes. A lot of drug companies have rushed to get a medication to market for this condition because the number of people living with it only continues to rise. The two companies came together to develop saxagliptin, which became Onglyza and part of the combination drug Kombiglyze along with metformin.
While saxagliptin has been proven to be effective in lowering blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, it has also been implicated in cases of pancreatitis, heart failure, cancer, and lactic acidosis. These patients, or in some cases the loved ones left behind after they died, are filing Onglyza lawsuits and forcing AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb to answer for their harmful drugs. If you have been harmed by your type 2 diabetes medication, you too may have a case to make and compensation to receive.
Saxagliptin and Type 2 Diabetes
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved saxagliptin in 2009 to treat type 2 diabetes, with the assumption that it would be used along with healthy lifestyle changes. Type 2 diabetes is a chronic illness most often caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, and being overweight or obese. The condition is characterized by high blood sugar levels. In a healthy person the hormone insulin controls blood sugar, but in someone with type 2 diabetes the body does not make enough insulin or is not sensitive to it.
Changing diet and exercise habits and losing weight can help reverse high blood sugar, but medications can give patients quicker, better control while they work on these lifestyle changes. Many drug companies have made medications to lower blood sugar. Saxagliptin belongs to a class of these drugs called DPP-4 inhibitors. They work by inhibiting a protein called DPP-4, which increases the production of insulin, and reduces the amount of sugar absorbed into the blood.
The Risk of Pancreatitis and Pancreatic Cancer
Saxagliptin has been found to increase the risk of a dangerous condition called pancreatitis. It is particularly problematic when acute. This means that the inflammation in the pancreas sets in quickly and can become serious in a matter of hours. Other DPP-4 drugs have been found to have this problem and the FDA has even issued warnings about it.
Also problematic is that studies have found that the DPP-4 inhibitors like Onglyza and Kombiglyze could cause pancreatic cancer. These studies found cancerous cells in the pancreases of patients who had been taking saxagliptin. Patients using other types of DPP-4 inhibitors have also reported developing pancreatic cancer and this along with pancreatitis has become one of the major reasons to file a lawsuit against the drug companies making these medications.
Although pancreatic cancer has been the main reason that lawsuits have been filed against Bristol-Myers Squibb, AstraZeneca, and other companies for DPP-4 inhibitors, other similar drugs also come with serious issues. Metformin, the second drug in Kombiglyze is a biguanide, a class of drugs with known potential risks. One of these is lactic acidosis, a dangerous buildup of lactic acid in the blood. It can cause symptoms like fatigue, muscle weakness and pain, numbness, lightheadedness, trouble breathing, and an irregular heartbeat. Without emergency treatment this condition can be fatal.
The FDA issued a warning in 2014 that Onglyza and other drugs like it could cause or worsen congestive heart failure. A study found that the number of hospitalizations for heart failure increased for patients using DPP-4 inhibitors to control type 2 diabetes. These drugs can cause a person to retain fluids, which worsens congestive heart failure by making it more difficult for the heart to pump blood.
According to the warning, patients with heart failure may not be able to take Onglyza. Unfortunately many people heard this warning too late and suffered from worsening cases of heart failure. The FDA recommended labeling changes to better warn patients and their doctors, but many feel that they should have been warned sooner and that the drug companies knew of the risk. This is yet another reason to file an Onglyza lawsuit against Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca.
Patients harmed by type 2 diabetes drugs, including DPP-4 inhibitors like Onglyza, are filing lawsuits against the companies responsible. These plaintiffs are suing because either they or a loved one was hurt by a medication they thought was going to help them. They claim that companies like AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb had a responsibility to warn the public about the risks associated with using their drugs and that they failed in this. Plaintiffs and their legal representation are accusing the companies of knowing about risks and not only failing to communicate them, but in some cases actively suppressing them to sell more. They say the companies produced dangerous products and represented them as safer than they really are.
In one particular cases against Onglyza a woman is suing the drug makers because her mother died after taking the medication. Her mother died of congestive heart failure. She started taking Onglyza in 2010 to treat type 2 diabetes, at which time she had no known congestive heart failure. By 2011 she had been diagnosed with the heart problem and died in 2013. The woman filing the suit hopes to see punitive damages against AstraZeneca and Bristol-Myers Squibb as well as compensation for her legal costs and other expenses.
The plaintiffs suing over Onglyza and other type 2 diabetes drugs are looking for compensation, but also for justice. The compensation they may win can help to cover costly medical expenses incurred because of the harm caused by the drug. The money also covers pain and suffering and other associated expenses, like legal fees. If you or someone you love was harmed by Onglyza, you too can seek this compensation through a lawsuit. If you feel you may have a case contact a lawyer and let that professional guide you through the right steps.