FDA reports new deaths with diabetes drug Byetta

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Federal regulators are working on a stronger label for a widely used diabetes drug after deaths continue to be reported despite earlier warnings.

The Food and Drug Administration says it has received six new reports of patients developing a dangerous form of pancreatitis while taking Byetta (BY'-yet-uh). Two of the patients have died and four are recovering

The drug is marketed by Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly. The two companies say the cases are "very rare." They add that diabetes patients are already at an increased risk of pancreatitis.

The FDA announcement updates an October alert about 30 reports of Byetta patients developing the ailment. Regulators stress patients should stop taking the drug immediately if they develop signs of pancreatitis, including nausea and abdominal pain.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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