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Pancreatic cancer and incretin therapy (GLP-1 and GPP-4)

There have been certain reports that have linked Type 2 diabetes medications incretin therapy (GLP-1 and DPP-4) to increased risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer. This has led to the European Medicine Agency (EMA) and the Food and Drugs Administration of the USA to undertake independent comprehensive evaluations of the existing evidence.

Diabetes UK has looked at their conclusions and also reviewed the evidence to inform our position on this issue.

  • There is no proven causal link between the use of incretin therapy and pancreatic cancer
  • Diabetes UK does not advocate any change in management of incretin therapy and await more research on the subject.
  • People with diabetes should NOT stop their medication, without discussing this with their healthcare team.
  • Vigilance is required of people on such therapies for any side effects suggestive of pancreatic disease. These symptoms may include upper abdomen pain, jaundice, weight loss, nausea, loss of appetite and fever.
  • Clinicians and people with diabetes should be aware that incretin therapies are contraindicated in people with previous pancreatitis.

Download the full position statement, Pancreatic cancer and incretin therapy (PDF, 485 KB).

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