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FDA: Diabetes drug may cause unexpected side effects

Category: Diabetes

After receiving numerous reports of kidney problems in patients taking a diabetes medication, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning regarding the drug's prescription information.

Between April 2005 and October 2008, the FDA received 78 reports of problems in kidney function in people taking the drug exenatide, sold by pharmacists as Byetta. In that timeframe, the medication was prescribed for about 7 million patients with type 2 diabetes, HealthDay News reports.

Complaints to the FDA came mostly from patients with a pre-existing kidney disorder or one or more risk factors for developing similar conditions, as determined by kidney and diabetes testing.

"Healthcare professionals and patients taking Byetta should pay close attention to any signs or symptoms of kidney problems," said Dr Amy Egan of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.

Egan further warned that problems with kidney function could result in changes in the color or amount of urine, swelling of the hands or feet, fatigue, changes in appetite and back aches.

Byetta is made by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and is used to control blood sugar levels.

Doctors at the American Diabetes Association recommend a fasting plasma glucose test or a casual plasma glucose test for diabetes screening.

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