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Diabetes Drugs Trigger Severe Joint Pain

FDA warns that diabetes drugs such as Januvia or Onglyza may cause severe joint pain that could be disabling; stopping the drug resolves the pain.
Diabetes Drugs Trigger Severe Joint Pain

The FDA has just issued a warning about a serious complication of certain popular diabetes drugs.

Gliptins, known as DPP-4 inhibitors, include medications like Januvia and Onglyza. Januvia was approved by the FDA in 2006 and Onglyza reached pharmacy shelves in 2009. The drugs are used to control blood sugar.

Severe Joint Pain:

Now, after several years the agency has determined that these and similar drugs can cause potentially disabling and severe joint pain. The pain may begin within a few days of starting the medicine but some people report that it can take years to show up. In most cases it goes away within a month of stopping the medication.

The FDA encourages people to report any joint pain to their prescribers promptly. It also advises against stopping the medication without medical supervision.

This side effect was detected through case reports that doctors made to the FDA MedWatch program regarding joint pain as a suspected side effect of these diabetes drugs. The agency encourages health care professionals to continue to report severe adverse effects to MedWatch. Patient can also submit reports of unexpected or serious reactions.

Other Side Effects:

These medications can cause other side effects. The most worrisome involve inflammation of the pancreas, and possibly pancreatic cancer. You can read more about those here.


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About the Author
Joe Graedon is a pharmacologist who has dedicated his career to making drug information understandable to consumers. His best-selling book, The People’s Pharmacy, was published in 1976 and led to a syndicated newspaper column, syndicated public radio show and web site. In 2006, Long Island University awarded him an honorary doctorate as “one of the country's leading drug experts for the consumer.” .
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