Diabetes drug shown to double risk of bladder cancer

Wed, 06 Jun 2012
A new study has claimed that the type 2 diabetes drug pioglitazone, which is marketed under the name Actos, is linked with an increased risk of bladder cancer.

The research, reported in the British Medical Journal, examined data on over 115,000 patients being treated with diabetes drugs between 1988 and 2009, showing that the effects of Actos, which is already labelled about the cancer, could be worse than thought and actually double the risk of bladder cancer for patients that take it for over two years.

In total, 470 of those being monitored were diagnosed with bladder cancer over a period of over four and a half years of follow-up, with those who had taken Actos facing an 83 per cent heightened risk of bladder cancer. When the diabetes drug, which has been banned in France and Germany, was taken for over a couple of years, or when higher doses were taken, the risk was found to be greater.

Researcher Laurent Azoulay, from the Lady Davis Institute of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada, said "Patients with type 2 diabetes and their physicians need to be fully aware of the potential association between Actos and bladder cancer."

He added "Certainly, this drug should not be used in patients with a history of bladder cancer and those with other bladder conditions."

A spokesperson for Takeda Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the treatment, said "Takeda is committed to ongoing clinical research to understand and investigate potential safety concerns."
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