Medical experts in the US and Europe are reviewing the safety of a class of diabetes medication known as incretin mimetics, following concerns that their use increases the risk of pancreatic cancer.
The review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency (EMA) comes after independent analysis of health insurance data found that the risk of being admitted to hospital with pancreatitis was twice as high for people taking incretin mimeticsincretin mimetics compared to those on other incretin mimeticsanti-diabetic drugs .
The research, published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), is backed by findings from a separate US-based study suggesting an increase in reports of pancreatic cancer among people taking this class of drug.
Dr Deborah Cohe, the BMJ’s investigation editor, said: “On their ow, the pieces of evidence may seem inconclusive. But when considered alongside other emerging and long standing evidence, a worrying picture emerges, posing serious questions about the safety of this class of drug.
“Doctors and patients should know this debate is going on and be aware of the evidence. This is an uncertain risk and both need to be happy,” she added.
The FDA/EMA investigation into incretin mimetics and the risk of pancreatic cancer is featured on Channel 4’s Dispatches programmen, which airs tonight at 8pm tonight.
In the programmen, BMJ editors report how manufacturers of the drugs “fiercely contested” the safety concerns and denied them access to raw data from the companies own research, which “would have helped resolve doubts about the safety of these drugs”.

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