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FDA Reports Pennsylvania Residents Using Diabetes Drug Byetta May Be at Risk for Kidney Problems

On Nov. 2, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced that labels for Byetta, an injectable, blood-sugar-lowering drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, would be updated to warn those taking the drug of an increased risk for kidney problems, including kidney failure.

Byetta was approved in 2005, and almost 7 million prescriptions were written for it between 2005 and 2008. Doctors and patients tend to like Byetta because it is easier to inject than insulin and had also been found to promote weight loss in some patients.

In an article on CNN.com on Nov. 4, Dr. Richard Hellman, the past president of the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists, and a clinical professor at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine, said that side effects of Byetta can include diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, which may contribute to changes in kidney function.

“If someone starts vomiting, they can lower the volume of fluid in their body. If it gets to dangerously low levels, their kidneys could be damaged and kidney failure could take place,” said Dr. Hellman.

Between April 2005 and October 2008 the FDA received 78 reports of kidney problems related to Byetta. Although some patients already had kidney disease before they started using Byetta, others developed kidney problems after taking it.

Symptoms of kidney problems can include changes in urine color, swelling that starts in the feet and legs, fatigue, nausea and vomiting, and trouble sleeping. If left untreated, kidney damage can worsen and could turn into kidney failure. Patients with any of these symptoms are encouraged to report them to their doctor.


If you or someone you know is using Byetta and is experiencing any of the signs of kidney problems noted above, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact the attorney team at Michael J. O’Connor & Associates to protect the rights of you and your loved ones.