Exenatide-induced acute pancreatitis

Endocr Pract. Jan-Feb 2010;16(1):80-3. doi: 10.4158/EP09104.CRR.


Objective: To report acute pancreatitis in a patient with non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM) receiving exenatide and critically review previous reports.

Methods: We describe clinical and laboratory data of a woman with probable exenatide-induced pancreatitis and apply the same criteria to previously published cases.

Results: A 64-year-old, nonalcoholic woman with NIDDM presented with a 1-month history of epigastric pain beginning 2 days after starting exenatide. Serum lipase concentration was 2700 U/L (reference range, 114-320 U/L), and serum amylase concentration was 131 U/L (reference range, 30-110 U/L). Liver function test results, lipid profile, and serum creatinine concentration were normal. Abdominal computed tomography (CT) showed changes consistent with pancreatitis, and the gallbladder was absent. Exenatide was discontinued. Conservative therapy resulted in rapid resolution of symptoms, normal lipase concentration (151 U/L), and normal findings from CT of the pancreas 90 days later. The US Food and Drug Administration has reported 36 cases of presumed pancreatitis associated with exenatide. However, none of the selection criteria were specified, two-thirds of the patients did not have CT, and 90% had at least 1 other risk factor for acute pancreatitis. A single published case report of exenatide-induced pancreatitis contains no description of the pancreas on abdominal CT, does not mention alcohol use, and does not report normal lipase values.

Conclusions: This is the most thoroughly documented example of probable exenatide-induced pancreatitis. In any diabetic patient with acute pancreatitis, exenatide must be ruled out as the cause and its use discontinued.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Exenatide
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents* / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatitis / chemically induced*
  • Pancreatitis / diagnosis
  • Peptides* / therapeutic use
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Venoms* / therapeutic use


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Peptides
  • Venoms
  • Exenatide