Pancreatitis is a life-threatening disease that often requires extensive treatment — including hospitalization, drug treatment (antibiotics, painkillers, and digestive enzyme supplements), and fasting to give the pancreas time to heal. If the pancreas is severely damaged, surgery may also be necessary. Individuals who take Byetta (exenatide) and develop pancreatitis may require treatment that is very expensive and debilitating.
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Byetta and Pancreatitis
Byetta (exenatide) is associated with at least 36 cases of acute pancreatitis, according to two FDA safety warnings from 2007 and 2008. Of these, the vast majority of patients required extensive treatment and prolonged hospitalization. Despite treatment efforts, at least two deaths have been associated with Byetta pancreatitis. Unfortunately, treatment of this disease can be extremely expensive.
Pancreatitis Treatment Information
The first-line treatment for pancreatitis is fasting (not eating any food or drinking any water). Normally, the pancreas must secrete digestive enzymes and hormones, so fasting gives the pancreas a chance to rest and recover. Patients will require hospitalization during this time, because they will require intravenous fluids (an IV) to deliver nutrients and hydration.
One of the biggest dangers of pancreatitis is infection, which is why most patients will be treated with an antibiotic drugs to prevent infection of the pancreas.
Pancreatitis and Surgical Procedures
Only the most severe cases of Byetta pancreatitis require surgery. When pancreatic tissue is inflamed for many weeks, a condition called necrotizing pancreatitis can occur. This involves extensive tissue damage and death (necrosis). Necrotic pancreatic tissue is highly susceptible to infection, which is why it is usually removed surgically to prevent infection. Even with surgery, infection may still occur. Doctors may need to surgically implant a catheter to drain infected fluids from the pancreas.
Pancreatitis Drug Treatment Information
Treatment for pancreatitis may involve many types of drugs, depending on the severity of the disease and whether the pancreas is still producing digestive enzymes or metabolic hormones (insulin, glucagon, etc.). Common drug treatments include:
- Pancreatic enzyme supplements (Lipram, Pancrease, Viokase)
- Intravenous fluids and/or nutrition
- Painkilling medications
Do I have a Byetta Lawsuit in Texas?
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