A prospective, claims-based assessment of the risk of pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer with liraglutide compared to other antidiabetic drugs

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2014 Mar;16(3):273-5. doi: 10.1111/dom.12230. Epub 2013 Nov 26.


Aim: We evaluated the relationship between liraglutide and acute pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer in an ongoing post-marketing safety assessment programme.

Methods: Initiators of liraglutide, exenatide, metformin, pioglitazone or groups containing initiators of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors or sulfonylureas were identified in a US commercial health insurance claims database (1 February 2010 to 31 March 2013) and followed for a median of 15 months. We estimated incidence rates (IR/100 000 person-years), rate ratio (RR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of new insurance claims with diagnoses of primary inpatient acute pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer from Poisson regression models.

Results: The IR for acute pancreatitis for liraglutide was 187.5 compared with 154.4 for all non-glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1)-based therapies (adjusted RR 1.10; CI 0.81-1.49). The IR for pancreatic cancer was 19.9 for liraglutide compared with 33.0 for all non-GLP-1-based therapies (adjusted RR 0.65; 95% CI 0.26-1.60).

Conclusion: We did not observe excess risk of either outcome associated with liraglutide relative to individual or pooled comparator drugs.

Keywords: GLP-1; observational study; pharmaco-epidemiology.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Databases, Factual
  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / adverse effects
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 / analogs & derivatives*
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Insurance Claim Reporting / statistics & numerical data
  • Insurance, Health
  • Liraglutide
  • Male
  • Metformin / adverse effects*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / chemically induced*
  • Pancreatitis / chemically induced*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Risk Assessment
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds / adverse effects*
  • United States


  • Dipeptidyl-Peptidase IV Inhibitors
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sulfonylurea Compounds
  • Liraglutide
  • Glucagon-Like Peptide 1
  • Metformin