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Diabetes Drug Actos Linked To Bladder Cancer

The diabetes drug Actos (ploglitazone) already carries a warning about its risk for bladder cancer, and now new research suggests that this risk may be greater than previously believed. Actos has already been banned in France and Germany. It is alleged that knowledge of the greater risk of bladder cancer from Actos was known by the manufacturer prior to the warnings being issued.

Risk Factors in Taking Actos

Most patients taking Actos suffer from diabetes. Studies suggest an increased risk of bladder cancer from diabetes. However as a pharmaceutical manufacturer, Takeda was likely aware of these studies and did not warn the industry or doctors that taking Actos would make the risk of getting bladder cancer even greater and more likely. Other risk factors in bladder cancer that Takeda should have warned doctors to screen for include: a family history of bladder cancer, a history of kidney stones, a history of urinary infections, and a tumor in any part of the urinary tract.

Research on Actos

Use of Actos for more than two years doubles the risk of bladder cancer. According to an article in the British Medical Journal, patients with type 2 diabetes and their physicians need to be fully aware of the potential association between Actos and bladder cancer. Laurent Azoulay, PhD., an epidemiologist at Lady Davis Institute of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Quebec, Canada states: “Certainly, this drug should not be used in patients with a history of bladder cancer and those with other bladder conditions.” The researchers analyzed data on more than 115,000 people who were treated with diabetes drugs from 1988 to 2009. Overall, 470 people were diagnoses with bladder cancer during about 4.6 years of follow-up. These individuals were compared with healthy people. People who had taken Actos had an 83% increased risk of bladder cancer, the researchers found. This risk increased when individuals took the diabetes drug for more than two years and when they took higher doses of it.

In a study published in the medical journal Lancet, researchers found a significant relationship between pioglitazone and bladder cancer which the industry failed to report and noted bladder cancer diagnosed in patients taking Actos between 2005 and 2010 could have been prevented. They stated: “This finding …. could have led to an alert five years sooner. … prescriptions could have been restricted and monitoring strengthened. Given the potential loss of opportunity for patients to have been treated otherwise or at least monitored carefully since 2005, vigilance of all relevant safety data reported in clinical trials are crucial.” Physicians need to balance the risks of bladder cancer with other perceived benefits of this medication and should be checking for bladder cancer in urine samples among the ones who are already taking it. The Actos label states that you should not take the drug if you are receiving treatment for bladder cancer. It also warns people to tell their doctor right away if they develop any bladder cancer symptoms including blood or a red color in urine, increased need to urinate, and pain during urination.

Actos Lawsuits

Due to the hundreds of Actos lawsuits that have now been filed, a special multi-district litigation has been established in the Western District of Louisiana. At this time the court is engaging in initial case management of formulating simple plaintiff fact sheets to provide the defendants with information regarding various injuries and claims by the plaintiff. The MDL will ensure that cases across the country are handled uniformly. Plaintiff’s lawyers are also in the process of obtaining numerous top-notch medical experts across the country to investigate and prove the claims of individuals who have been diagnosed with bladder cancer following long term exposure to Actos. The court has issued confidentiality orders regarding certain discovery materials which will now allow discovery to proceed against defendants and for the plaintiff’s attorney to obtain evidence of corporate knowledge regarding the risks of bladder cancer. Several hundred lawsuits have been filed for individuals who developed bladder cancer while taking Actos.

If you or a loved one have suffered from a bladder cancer as a result of taking Actos and would like to discuss your rights please feel free to contact us to schedule an appointment to discuss your case in detail. We offer free consultations. Call 732-333-0681 today.

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