With specific respect to Incretin based therapies, drug side effect surveillance identified pancreatitis as a cause for concern many years ago. Those original studies told us more about pancreatitis in diabetic subjects than they did about any possible drug association. This was that the two conditions, diabetes and pancreatitis, occur at a relatively higher frequency together compared to the background population.

This early statistical data told us that it was in fact the diabetic population themselves when compared to the general background population who had the higher incidence of pancreatitis. It was not necessarily that the diabetic medication contributed to the higher frequency because the diabetes itself seemed to be the actual risk factor. This fact will confound results of research unless it is taken into account.

An increase in pancreatitis is also seen in people who are overweight or who are obese. Pancreatitis will occur more often in the diabetic population because the diabetic population have a higher percentage of people who are overweight. All drug studies will have to carefully control for this fact also and not jump immediately to the conclusion that a drug used to treat diabetes is the culprit.

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