Actos Puts Diabetics At Risk For Bladder Cancer
The diabetes drug Actos has disappointed many patients who were unaware of the potential link between the drug and bladder cancer. Patients report that they would not have taken the diabetes drug if they had known about the risk of this and other serious side effects. Many of these patients have previously stopped taking another diabetes drug, Avandia, due to the announcement of a link to increased chance of heart attacks, only to find that the new drug they were prescribed had even more alarming side effects.
The media company Bloomberg has released a report stating that the number of lawsuits against the manufacturer of Actos, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, could eventually number in the tens of thousands. The number of patients being prescribed Actos increased dramatically when a rival drug, Avandia, was shown to be linked to an increased risk of heart attack. When the FDA limited the availability of Avandia, Actos became the drug of choice for doctors treating diabetic patients. After the potential Actos bladder cancer link was discovered, many patients experienced feelings of betrayal and deceit.
This has led to 54 lawsuits being filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals as of November 2011. One attorney whose firm represents over 1,200 Actos patients says that they are expecting the number of lawsuits to increase into the thousands. The number is expected to be so great that the courts are currently in the process of deciding if the Actos cases against Takeda should be consolidated.
A positive note for those filing an Actos lawsuit is that the connection between Actos and bladder cancer appears to be stronger than the connection between Avandia and heart attacks. This is mainly because heart attacks can be linked to a number of other factors, while bladder cancer is less common and more readily attributed to the Actos treatment.
The Food & Drug Administration has known since June of 2011 that patients who use Actos for more than one year may be at an increased risk of bladder cancer. Once the potential side effects were recognized, the labeling of Actos was modified to include information about the danger of heart attacks, bladder cancer, and other side effects. The FDA is currently working to complete a study on the full spectrum of possible side effects of Actos.
In Europe, the countries of Germany and France have already banned the use of Actos due to the potential risks. Other countries may soon be following suit, in order to avoid future harm to patients, as well as to limit the number of lawsuits filling their court systems.
Patients who have taken Actos may be confused as to their medical and legal options. The possibility of developing bladder cancer is a frightening prospect. Diabetes patients who have been prescribed Actos should consult their treating physician concerning the possible side effects of this drug. They should also contact a medical lawyer to discuss any legal option that they may have. A lawyer can review the unique experience of the patient with this drug and advise whether bringing a case against the manufacturer is in his or her best interest.
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