Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis

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Hemorrhagic pancreatitis is the form of pancreatitis in which the pancreas is bleeding — in addition to the inflammation that defines pancreatitis. A hemorrhage is the escape of blood from blood vessels; the origin of the term "hemorrhage" is a Greek word, rhegnynai, meaning "to burst forth."

Hemorrhagic Pancreatitis Deaths among Byetta® Users

To date, hemorrhagic pancreatitis is the cause of death reported for two individuals who were using Byetta®, the relatively new treatment for controlling the blood sugar of people with Type 2 diabetes. In August 2008, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) strengthened the Byetta® warning label to advise patients of the pancreatitis risk after receiving the two hemorrhagic-pancreatitis fatality reports and four other hospitalizations related to the Byetta® drug. 

More than Thirty Cases of Byetta®-Related Pancreatitis

The FDA stated that Byetta® use should be discontinued immediately if hemorrhagic pancreatitis or another form of pancreatitis is suspected in a Byetta® patient. The FDA had already received 30 reports of acute (sudden-onset) pancreatitis among Byetta® users, although none of these individuals had hemorrhagic pancreatitis. 

A Life-Threatening Condition

Hemorrhagic pancreatitis is a life-threatening condition with a high death rate. Hemorrhagic pancreatitis can also lead to very serious complications, including:

  • heart failure
  • kidney failure
  • acute respiratory distress syndrome 

Hemorrhage from Damaged Blood Vessels

In pancreatitis, it is thought that the digestive enzymes that the pancreas normally releases in an inactive form — e.g., lipases, amylases, trypsin — become active inside the pancreas and attack the tissue of the pancreas itself, often causing a hemorrhage when the inflammation damages the blood vessels. The process of enzymes digesting the site of their own production, the pancreas, in this case, is called "autodigestion." 

If You Believe You Have Been Injured by Byetta®

If you believe you’ve been harmed by taking Byetta®, contact us to speak with an experienced Byetta® attorney to evaluate your claims.

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