"Many patients have asked me recently about the association of the diabetes drug, Actos and bladder cancer. I have posted some info below from WebMD to provide some insight." - David Robbins, MD
June 16, 2011 -- The FDA has issued a new warning of increased bladder cancer risk associated with use of the diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone).
The warning comes after a review of data from a five-year analysis of an ongoing study of Actos by the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
The results show that although there was no increased risk of bladder cancer among Actos users overall, there was an increased risk of bladder cancer among those who had used the drug the longest. There was also a greater risk of bladder cancer among Actos users who had been exposed to the highest cumulative dose of the drug.
Officials say information about this risk will be added to the label of the drug as well as the patient medication guide.
FDA officials say in light of this new information, Actos should not be prescribed to people with bladder cancer or people with a history of bladder cancer.
In September, the FDA launched a safety review of Actos after initial data from the manufacturer's ongoing 10-year study suggested that the drug may increase the risk of bladder cancer.
The agency says it is also aware of a recent epidemiological study in France that also suggests an increased risk of bladder cancer associated with Actos. Based on this study, France has suspended use of the drug and advised not starting Actos in new patients.
Actos is part of a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is designed to help control blood sugar levels by increasing the body's sensitivity to insulin.
The FDA says people currently taking Actos should continue taking it until advised otherwise by their health professional. Those who are concerned about the possible risk of bladder cancer should talk to their health care provider.