Lilly’s Byetta might be tied to swelling, deaths

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Bad news for one of Lilly’s up-and-coming drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration warned health professionals today that the diabetes drug Byetta might be linked to six cases of severe inflammation of the pancreas, or pancreatitis, according to MarketWatch.

All six patients were hospitalized and two died. The FDA advised doctors to discontinue Byetta promptly if they suspect pancreatitis and not to resume therapy with the drug.

Byetta, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, is co-marketed by Indianapolis-based Lilly and San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.

In 2007, worldwide sales of Byetta grew more than 50 percent to reach $650 million.

Lilly shares at mid-afternoon were trading at $47.94, off 84 cents.

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