Researchers have found that taking the diabetes drug Actos (generically known as pioglitazone), produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, for more than a 2-year time span doubles one’s risk of developing bladder cancer, though the absolute risk remains low, reports Reuters.
Canadian researchers conducted the study by looking at records of greater than 115,000 British patients who were newly administered the diabetes drugs from 1988 to 2009.
They discovered that the use of Actos for longer than two years was linked to 88 extra cases of bladder cancer per 100,000 person years. For patients who had taken greater than 28,000 mg (milligrams), this number increased to 137 extra cases of bladder cancer.
The British Medical Journal published the study online.
Last year, U.S. and European regulators warned the public of the possible increased bladder cancer risk, but decided to keep Actos available. The sales of the drug dropped with the warnings.
Takeda, the drugs’ producer, says that it is in no doubt of the positives of Actos to treat diabetes and continues to scrutinize the safety of its medications.
Actos is in the same drug class as GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia, a drug that has been associated with certain heart complications.
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