Acute Pancreatitis in Type 2 Diabetes Treated With Exenatide or Sitagliptin

A retrospective observational pharmacy claims analysis

  1. Merri Pendergrass, MD, PHD2,3
  1. 1Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts;
  2. 2Medco Health Solutions, Franklin Lakes, New Jersey;
  3. 3University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, Texas.
  1. Corresponding author: Merri Pendergrass, merri_pendergrass{at}


OBJECTIVE Cases of acute pancreatitis have been reported in association with exenatide, sitagliptin, and type 2 diabetes without use of these medications. It remains unknown whether exenatide or sitagliptin increase the risk of acute pancreatitis.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS A retrospective cohort study of a large medical and pharmacy claims database was performed. Data for 786,656 patients were analyzed. Cox proportional hazard models were built to compare the risk of acute pancreatitis between diabetic and nondiabetic subjects and between exenatide, sitagliptin, and control diabetes medication use.

RESULTS Incidence of acute pancreatitis in the nondiabetic control group, diabetic control group, exenatide group, and sitagliptin group was 1.9, 5.6, 5.7, and 5.6 cases per 1,000 patient years, respectively. The risk of acute pancreatitis was significantly higher in the combined diabetic groups than in the nondiabetic control group (adjusted hazard ratio 2.1 [95% CI 1.7–2.5]). Risk of acute pancreatitis was similar in the exenatide versus diabetic control group (0.9 [0.6–1.5]) and sitagliptin versus diabetic control group (1.0 [0.7–1.3]).

CONCLUSIONS Our study demonstrated increased incidence of acute pancreatitis in diabetic versus nondiabetic patients but did not find an association between the use of exenatide or sitagliptin and acute pancreatitis. The limitations of this observational claims-based analysis cannot exclude the possibility of an increased risk.


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  • Received March 12, 2010.
  • Accepted July 24, 2010.

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  1. Diabetes Care vol. 33 no. 11 2349-2354
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