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Darren Tobin
Darren Tobin
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Actos Conclusively Linked to Cause of Bladder Cancer

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The British Medical Journal (BMJ) published an article this week providing evidence for Actos bladder cancer injury lawsuits, finding that the longer a patient takes Actos and the more Actos a patient takes, the more likely that patient will develop bladder cancer.

The article was published by a group of Canadian researchers whose main objection was “to determine if the use of pioglitazone is associated with an increased risk of cancer in people with type 2 diabetes.” The drug Actos contains pioglitazone.

The participants included in this research were people with type 2 diabetes who were treated with the drug component pioglitazone between January 1 1988 and December 31, 2009. The research team viewed date on 115,727 patients who took diabetes drugs. This is the first study done evaluating the risk of increased doses of Actos in patients. Other studies have found the link with actos and bladder cancer.

Laurent Azoulay, an assistant professor in the Center for Clinical Epidemiology in the Lady Davis institute in the Jewish General Hospital in Montreal led this research team. After evaluating all of the patient files, 470 of the patients were diagnosed with bladder cancer. That’s almost 90 bladder cancer diagnoses per 100,000 persons.

Azoulay’s team found that taking Actos was associated with an 83% increase of getting bladder cancer even while bladder cancer was found to be higher in patients with type 2 diabetes. The study further found that the bladder cancer was highest among those patients who took Actos for longer than 2 years.

The article conclude by summarizing, “[T]he results of this study provide evidence that pioglitazone (Actos) is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, whereas no increased risk was observed with the thiazolidinedione rosiglitazone (Avandia). The increased risk associated with pioglitazone became apparent after use for at least 24 months and receiving cumulative dosages greater than 28 000 mg. Such associations may have been underestimated in the previous observational studies that included prevalent users.”

Lawsuits have already been filed in the U.S. against Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals. This research certainly provides more evidence for patients in these actions. Between January and October 2010 alone, 2.3 million patients filled prescriptions for Actos. Based on the 40% increased risk, the number of people who may have developed bladder cancer since the drug’s approval in 1999 could easily number in the thousands. Legal experts expect that Takeda Pharmaceuticals will face many more lawsuits.

If you or someone you love has been injured by Actos, feel free to contact our attorneys at Childers, Schlueter & Smith for a free and private case consultation.