Actos Increases Risks of Bladder Cancer and Heart Failure
Actos side effects can be very serious, and studies show that the type 2 diabetes drug increases a patient’s risk of developing bladder cancer and congestive heart failure. In women, and especially in post-menopausal patients, Actos (pioglitazone) has also been associated with bone fractures in the feet, arms, and hands.
Actos bladder cancer
One of the drug’s most prominent and dangerous side effects is bladder cancer. The link between Actos and bladder cancer is not yet fully understood, but experts believe pioglitazone, which influences DNA transcription of certain genes, may case genetic mutation or defects over the long-term, thereby increasing a patient’s risk of bladder cancer.
Studies show that cancer rates are higher in patients who have taken Actos in high dosages or for longer than 12 months, and that the drug can increase the risk of bladder cancer by 40%. In June 2011, the FDA warned the public of Actos bladder cancer risks and in August 2011, the agency approved warning label updates to include increased danger of bladder cancer.
Actos heart failure
In 2005, the Lancet published a study linking high-risk Actos patients to an increased risk of heart failure. Later, results from a post-marketing safety study confirmed this information: almost 10% of Actos patients may be hospitalized overnight for congestive heart failure.
Two years later in 2007, the FDA required a black-box warning be added to the Actos side effects label to inform consumers that pioglitazone can cause or exacerbate congestive heart failure, especially for certain risk groups. The updated label also included warnings of edema and fluid retention, which are also risk factors for congestive heart failure.
Actos side effects lead to lawsuits
On December 29, 2011, the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (JPML) established multidistrict litigation (MDL) to consolidate more than 100 pending Actos cancer lawsuits. The MDL is headquartered in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana, and has added new cases throughout 2012.
Pending lawsuits not in the MDL also incorporate claims of Actos heart failure, especially congestive heart failure. These complaints are eerily similar to those of patients taking Avandia, a similar diabetes medication in the TZD drug class. Studies show that Avandia patients may risk a 43% increased chance of heart attack, which led to many alleged deaths and lawsuits.