Takeda Pharmaceuticals is facing yet another lawsuit over its Type 2 diabetes drug Actos, chemically known as pioglitazone. The Food and Drug Administration and plaintiffs in other Actos lawsuits say that Actos can cause bone fractures, macular edema, congestive heart failure, liver problems and bladder cancer, and this plaintiff, a New York man who took the drug between Oct. 2005 and Feb. 2011, apparently began suffering from bladder cancer during that six-year period.
In response to the approximately 3,000 Actos lawsuits representing people injured by the drug, the FDA required Takeda to update its drug safety label to reflect a significantly increased risk of bladder cancer if the drug is taken for more than a year. Unfortunately for this man and so many others, that warning was issued in June 2011 -- too late for him to heed.
How significant is the increased bladder cancer risk from Actos? In 2012, the British Medical Journal published a study showing that people who used Actos for two years were twice as likely to develop bladder cancer as those who never took the drug. That same year, the Canadian Medical Association Journal reported that Type 2 diabetes patients on Actos increased their bladder cancer risk by 22 percent.
Of the thousands of lawsuits over Actos, only one has reached a verdict so far, but it was a significant one. A jury found Takeda liable in the case of a 79-year-old California man who took Actos for four years and then was diagnosed with terminal cancer. Finding that Takeda had failed to adequately warn patients that Actos could cause cancer, the jury awarded the man $6.5 million in damages.
If you have taken Actos, know the symptoms to look for. Symptoms of bladder cancer include:
- Blood in your urine
- Frequent urination
- Pain while urinating
If you have these symptoms, you should see a doctor as soon as possible to confirm or rule out a diagnosis, because the earlier you get treatment, the better your outcome is likely to be.
Source: NewsInferno, "Another Lawsuit Alleges Actos Caused Bladder Cancer," Cynthia A. Diaz-Shephard, July 24, 2013