Diabetes Drug Actos May Cause Bladder Cancer
The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning cautioning physicians and patients that the diabetes drug pioglitazone-also known by the familiar brand name "Actos"-puts patients at risk of developing bladder cancer. The warning is another chapter in an ongoing saga that has many doctors and safety advocates claiming Actos is a defective prescription drug and should be removed from the market.
Dangers Associated With Actos
Actos is part of a class of medications called thiazolidinediones or "TZDs" used to treat Type 2 diabetes. TZDs decrease insulin resistance, allowing diabetics whose condition cannot be well managed with diet and exercise alone to take less insulin.
Unfortunately, the benefit of Actos may be outweighed by its risks. According to the FDA, Actos users who take the drug for more than one year are 40 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer compared to individuals who never took the drug. The high risk is leading some doctors to cease prescribing the drug and transition current patients to new medication. France and Germany have already banned Actos after a French government indicated the drug in fact was linked to increased cancer risks.
Specific Health Risks of Actos
Actos poses a number of risks in addition to bladder cancer including:
- Liver damage, sometimes severe enough to require a transplant
- Dangerously low blood sugar
- Ovulation and resulting pregnancy in menopausal women
- Cardiovascular problems
- Retinal swelling and blindness
What to Do if You Are Taking Actos
If you are taking Actos, talk with your doctor to determine the best course of action. Do not stop taking the drug or change your prescription medication regimen without physician approval. Diabetes can be dangerous in its own right, so it's important that the condition is well-managed.
If you do become ill or injured from taking Actos, you may be entitled to compensation under the law. Talking to an experienced defective prescription drugs attorney can help you understand the particulars of the law and whether legal recourse is available.