Actos Heightens Already Increased Risk of Bladder Cancer for Type 2 Diabetes Patients

Some doctors think the risk of bladder cancer associated with the drug Actos - used to treat type 2 diabetes - is significant enough that the drug should be avoided by everyone. But Dr. Joel Zonszein, who directs a diabetes clinic at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, thinks Actos (pioglitazone) may be OK for those who have an otherwise low risk of bladder cancer. Because the disease is more often found among men and in smokers, however, Zonszein doesn't prescribe the drug for his older male patients who smoke.

Many physicians are considering the issue after yet another study has supported the association between Actos use and an increased risk of bladder cancer, according to U.S. News.

Those with type 2 diabetes are already at a 40 percent increased risk for bladder cancer. This was the finding in a study that appeared on July 3 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. This background increased risk is thought to be related to the fact that people with type 2 diabetes have high levels of insulin. Insulin is a hormone that aids in transforming carbohydrates into sugar, which can be used by the body as fuel. In addition, insulin is growth hormone. Cancer cells, in turn, contain insulin receptors, meaning they are able to use insulin to grow.

According to Jeffrey A. Johnson, the lead researcher on the July 3 study, Actos users also have a 22 percent increased risk of bladder cancer on top of that. Actos is a thiazolidinedione, which is helpful for type 2 diabetes patients because it increases the body's sensitivity to insulin, which cuts back on the amount of insulin needed by the body. Johnson believes that this interaction somehow makes the development of bladder cancer more likely.

Avandia (rosiglitazone) is also a thiazolidinedione but Johnson's analysis did not show a link between Avandia and bladder cancer. Still, the use of Avandia has been restricted by the FDA because of the drug's association with serious heart problems.

Johnson and his colleagues analyzed available data from 10 separate studies involving over 2.6 million people. Of that group, 3,643 people with type 2 diabetes developed bladder cancer after beginning treatment with Actos.

If you (or a loved one) have taken Actos for the treatment of type 2 diabetes and have been diagnosed with bladder cancer, you may be entitled to compensation. No one expects that a company would sell a drug to treat one medical condition when that very drug also puts people at risk for cancer. Brian Weinstein and Ben Couture are attorneys who have devoted their entire legal careers to helping people with injuries caused by corporations more interested in their stock price than in making sure their products are safe to begin with. From our offices in Seattle/Tacoma, we represent clients all over the Pacific Northwest, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, as well as others across the nation.

Weinstein Couture PLLC is here to answer your questions about Actos, about the legal process and about us. Call us today at 800-406-1690 or complete the Contact form on this page for a free consultation with an Actos lawyer today.