The FDA is currently warning patients who are taking Actos® that they are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer. On Sept 30, 2011, the FDA reviewed the findings of a 10-year study done by manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals. This study determined that Actos® (pioglitazone) carries a greater than average risk of developing bladder cancer.
Actos Banned in Germany and France
The findings of the epidemiological study of 193,099 patients with diabetes, created enough concern that Actos was banned in Germany and France because of the risk. The FDA is also advising physicians that they have a duty to warn patients of the potential risks including bladder cancer, associated with the use of Actos®. In addition, on June 15, 2011 the FDA commented on its concerns relating to the increased risk of bladder cancer from Actos®, in its Drug Safety Communication.
Actos®, which is generically known as Pioglitazone, is also sold under the names of ActoplusMet®, Duetact®, and Competact®. This is a diabetes prescription drug in the TZD (thiazolidinedione) class, which is directly linked to a high risk of bladder cancer. In fact, when Actos® is taken for a period longer than 12 months there is a 40 percent increase in the risk of developing bladder cancer.
Yet another study published in BMJ on May 31, 2012 and in the CMAJ on July 3, 2012 confirms what earlier studies have found, and that is, people with type 2 diabetes are at an increased risk of developing bladder cancer if they take Actos.
“The evidence suggests that this drug is associated with about a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer,” said study senior author Jeffrey A. Johnson, the Canada Research Chair in Diabetes Health Outcomes at the University of Alberta School of Public Health, in Canada.
People with type 2 diabetes have a 40 percent increased risk of developing bladder cancer, according to background information in the current analysis. This increased risk is believed to be associated with high levels of insulin found in people with type 2 diabetes. Insulin is a hormone that helps the body turn carbohydrates from food into sugar (glucose) that can be used for fuel. Insulin is also a growth hormone, and cancer cells have insulin receptors on them, which means they can use insulin to grow, according to Johnson.
It’s important to keep in mind that those who have type 2 diabetes already have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
Pharmaceutical Class Action
Since 2006, Takeda Pharmaceuticals has been the sole marketer of the drug Actos® and currently they are facing a number of class action lawsuits. There has been a direct link established between bladder cancer and taking the diabetes drug Actos®.
If you have been taking Actos® and you believe you bladder cancer or other illnesses could be linked to Actos® you should talk with an Actos® lawsuit attorney. You should never stop taking any medication without first consulting your physician. If you have symptoms of bladder cancer such as burning during urination, blood in the urine, or other changes in your bladder habits you need to see your doctor immediately.
Recent long term studies have showed that diabetes patients who were prescribed Actos® and who took it over an extended period of time were at a significantly higher risk of developing bladder cancer. As a result, you should never take your symptoms lightly if you are taking the drug Actos® or other TZD drugs.
While there is now a black label warning on packaging that does not help those who were unaware of the risks because they were not revealed sooner.
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