Takeda Pharmaceuticals is bracing itself for hundreds of lawsuits regarding Actos, one of their diabetes drugs that has been linked to bladder cancer. So far, Actos has been the best selling type 2 diabetes drug in the world but sales are predicted to drastically decrease after this controversy.
In June, the French government studied more than 1 million diabetics and discovered that Actos patients experienced a 22 percent higher risk of bladder cancer than those not taking Actos (see here). Patients who took a dosage of 28,000 mg or more had the most prevalent instances of bladder cancer. It appears that larger doses over a longer time period (2+ years) caused a significant increase in bladder cancer.
As France and Germany have been pressuring Takeda Pharmaceuticals to remove the product from the market in their countries, the FDA was prompted to deliver warnings here in the U.S. The Associated Press reports that lawyers say over 100 Actos bladder cases are pending at law firms already.
At this point, doctors are only recommending Actos as a last resort for patients who have exhausted all other options. This diabetes drug isn't the first to be beleaguered with safety problems. There is a class of diabetes medication called thiazolidinediones that has been restricted over the past 10 years in the form of Avandia and Rezulin, which have been associated with heart problems and liver problems, respectively.