New study confirms that dangerous drug Actos presents cancer risk

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A new study by Canadian researchers published by the British Medical Journal confirms previous studies associating use of the dangerous drug Actos with an increased risk of bladder cancer.  In a study conducted by Laurent Azoulay, PhD of McGill University in Montreal, it was found that patients with type 2 diabetes who were treated with Actos had an 83% greater risk of developing cancer than diabetics who never used Actos. “We believe physicians, patients and regulatory agencies should be aware of this association when assessing the overall risks and benefits of this therapy,” Azoulay said.

Dr. Azoulay’s study analyzed data for 115,727 patients who had been prescribed diabetes drugs between 1988 and 2009.  The average age of the study group participants was 64 and the average follow up time was 4.6 years.  The researchers found that those patients who used Actos–manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals–for more than two years had double the risk of developing bladder cancer. The bladder cancer risk rose even more among patients who had taken more than 28,000 milligrams of the drug. 

In an editorial published with the Canadian study, Jean-Luc Faillie and Dominique Hillaire-Buys of the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology in Monpellier, France said the research “would prompt questions about future use of Actos.”  Dr. Spyros Mezitis, an endocrinologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City said “we need to be more careful with the use of this medication. The whole class of these drugs has come under fire.  If there are more studies like this, we will not be using this medication.”

Concern about a connection between Actos use and bladder cancer rose last year when American and European regulatory agencies issued warnings about the risk presented by the dangerous drug.  While the drug remains on the market at present, sales have declined since the warnings were issued.  Actos sales peaked at almost $5 billion in the year to March 2010.

For more information about the dangers of Actos, contact the Ohio Actos lawyers at Clark, Perdue & List. 

Source: Reuters, “Study details cancer risk of Takeda diabetes pill,”  May 31, 2012.