Canadian study shows Actos doubles bladder cancer risk
  • Fri, 06/08/2012 - 11:43am

Actos (pioglitazone) may double the risk for bladder cancer when taken for two years or more suggests a new Canadian study published in the British Medical Journal. Researchers say the increased cancer risk is dose-related and overall relatively small.

The once popular medication was designed to help regulate blood sugar in patients dealing with type II diabetes but has fallen short of its duties when number reports were filed with the FDA linking the drug to serious adverse side effects. Both France and Germany made the decision to ban Actos while the U.S. continues to assess whether a recall is necessary.

Researchers collected data from nearly 116,000 people treated for diabetes from 1988 to 2009. Information was obtained from the General Practice Research Database, a registry of 600 medical offices in the United Kingdom, to help determine the risk of bladder cancer with Actos use. The study found 470 people were diagnosed with bladder cancer within 4.6 years of follow up as compared to healthy people while Actos users faced an 83% increased risk.

Despite what the study shows, spokeswoman Elissa J. Johnson feels Actos is still a viable treatment.

“Takeda is confident in the therapeutic benefits of Actos and its importance as a treatment for type II diabetes. As a science and evidence-based company, Takeda firmly stands behind the substantial data available confirming the positive risk/benefit profile of Actos, which includes more than 12 years of clinical and patient experience with the product,” said Johnson in an interview.

According to the American Cancer Society, 73,510 new bladder cancer cases will be diagnosed this year. When it comes down to deciding whether a patient should take Actos or not, doctors need to tailor treatment for each patient and consider other methods for controlling blood sugar if necessary, said Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hospital in New York City.

If you are taking Actos, and are unsure if you should continue use, speak with your healthcare professional to evaluate the risks and benefits and before making a decision.

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