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Popular Diabetes Medication Found to Increase Cancer Risk by 40 Percent, FDA Says

A popular diabetes drug, Actos, may significantly boost your risk of bladder cancer, multiple studies show.

A popular diabetes drug, Actos, may significantly boost your risk of bladder cancer, multiple studies show. Patients being treated for one serious health issue now face another, say officials with the United States Food and Drug Administration.


Research shows that people who take the diabetes drug Actos for one year are 40 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than are those treated with different medications. Now, in one of the largest civil trial verdicts in history, a federal jury has ordered Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co. with a combined $10.475 verdict.


Actos (also called Pioglitazone) has been on the market for well more than a decade, and remains on the market despite proven concerns. Besides the FDA study that showed a 40 percent boost in bladder cancer risk here in the United States, studies in several other countries have conducted studies of their own that produced similar results. A February 2014 study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology reported a “clinically significant” increased occurrence of bladder cancer in patients who took Actos for an extended amount of time, and studies conducted in France and Canada both found a 22-percent increased risk.


Researchers involved in the Canadian study alone came to their conclusion after examining medical records of more than 2.6 million patients. As a result of these studies, both France and Germany have banned sales of Actos. Statistics from the National Cancer Institute show that bladder cancer kills more than 15,000 Americans each year, and that the condition is far more prevalent in men than in women. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, painful or frequent urination, blood in the urine, urine leakage, fatigue and significant weight loss.


If you or someone you love has developed bladder cancer or another health issue after being prescribed Actos, you may be eligible for compensation for your losses. But know that these types of cases can be difficult to prove and that pharmaceutical companies, physicians and hospitals have major financial and legal resources at their disposal. Your best bet is to hire an experienced dangerous drugs attorney. Jacksonville’s Harrell and Harrell can be reached at 800-251-1111.