DPP-4 inhibitors, a class of drugs that includes sitagliptin (the most popular drug from this class), have shown to cause serious side effects like pancreatitis, heart failure, cancer of the pancreas and thyroid. Recently, studies and clinical case reviews have discovered that these drugs may cause severe and crippling joint pain, adding to the long list of health complications caused by conventional anti-diabetic medicines.
Why and how DPP-4 inhibitors cause arthritis is still not clearly understood. But it might be an interplay of immune factors and a genetic predisposition. Arthritis can begin as early as within a day or two of starting sitagliptin use, or it may take several years for the condition to manifest.
The US FDA has already made the announcement and warned both doctors and patients about this side effect after it identified 33 cases of severe arthritis from 2006 to 2013. The FDA suggests that patients should consult with their physicians if and when they experience such symptoms.
It is worthwhile to note that joint pain subsides within a month after stopping the medicine. But when you start taking the medicines again, the joint pain returns.
Of all the cases reported at the FDA, the following observations were made:
- Females somehow seem to be at a greater risk of developing arthritis than males and this ratio is 2:1.
- Older people are more likely to suffer from arthritis than younger patients. Of all the patients who suffered from joint pain while taking sitagliptin, around 63% were 60 years or more, around 25% were between 50 and 59 years of age and 10% of them were between 40-49 years.
- Close to 35% of the patients who suffered from joint pain experienced the symptoms between 2 and 5 years from the date they started taking DPP-4 inhibitors. 21% of them experienced joint pain within 1 to 6 months and 24% between 1-2 years.
The number of side effects of conventional anti-diabetic medications keeps increasing, with newer complications being discovered as more studies are undertaken. This has made many type 2 diabetics look elsewhere for hope. While there are hundreds (if not thousands) of “miracle cures” for every disease and disorder known to humankind from rainforests and the depths of the oceans, these are often little more than a way for quacks to make a quick buck at the expense of a hapless sufferer.
Functional medicine, on the other hand, uses solid science and research to tackle chronic diseases at their roots. It works to understand the complex interplay of all bodily systems and works to correct the imbalances by focusing at the correcting the causes of the disease – improper diet, lack of physical activity and excessive stress. Type 2 diabetes is also reversible. M.D.s are doing this. Empower yourself with the right resources and begin your journey back to vibrant health today.