Objective: To review the evidence surrounding a potential association between liraglutide and pancreatitis.
Data sources: A literature search was conducted in MEDLINE (1948-July 12, 2012) and EMBASE (1974-week 27, 2012) using the search terms pancreatitis, liraglutide, and glucagon-like peptide 1/adverse effects. Reference citations from identified publications were reviewed. The manufacturer was contacted and regulatory documents from the Food and Drug Administration website were reviewed for unpublished data related to cases of pancreatitis associated with liraglutide use.
Study selection and data extraction: All identified sources that were published in English were considered for inclusion.
Data synthesis: Eleven cases of pancreatitis have been reported in patients taking liraglutide. Seven were from the LEAD (Liraglutide Effect and Action in Diabetes) studies, 1 was reported in the extension of a clinical trial, and 1 was in an unpublished obesity trial. Two were published postmarketing case reports. Nine of the cases reported were diagnosed as acute pancreatitis, while 2 were classified as chronic pancreatitis. The mean age of the patients was 57.5 years and mean body mass index was 33.92 kg/m(2). Six of the 11 cases occurred in male patients. Nine of the patients were white and 1 was African American. In 7 of the cases, onset occurred at liraglutide doses at or above 1.8 mg daily. Common comorbidities included history of pancreatitis, cholelithiasis, and diabetes. One case was fatal.
Conclusions: Pancreatitis is a potential complication with liraglutide therapy. Liraglutide should be used cautiously in patients at risk of pancreatitis (eg, alcohol abuse, history of pancreatitis, cholelithiasis).