Pancreatitis risk with DPP4 inhibitors

Acute pancreatitis is now listed as a possible adverse effect of all dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP4) inhibitors ('gliptins').

The mechanism by which DPP4 inhibitors might increase the risk of pancreatitis is unknown | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
The mechanism by which DPP4 inhibitors might increase the risk of pancreatitis is unknown | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Drugs of this class, which are used in the treatment of type II diabetes, include Galvus (vildagliptin), Januvia (sitagliptin), Onglyza (saxagliptin), Trajenta (linagliptin), and the combination tablets Eucreas (metformin + vildagliptin), Janumet (metformin + sitagliptin) and Jentadueto (metformin + linagliptin).

When to suspect pancreatitis

Characteristic symptoms of acute pancreatitis include persistent, severe abdominal pain, sometimes radiating to the back. The MHRA advises that all patients taking a DPP4 inhibitor should be informed of these symptoms and encouraged to report any occurrence. Treatment should be discontinued if pancreatitis is suspected. 

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