The number of people with Type 2 Diabetes here in Louisiana and around the country has increased dramatically in recent years. If you are one of them, your doctor may have looked at prescribing you one of many drugs manufactured and distributed to control this chronic condition.
One of those medications is Actos. It's generic name is pioglitazone. Doctors often prescribe it in conjunction with insulin and perhaps other treatments. The problem is that some serious and life-threatening conditions can develop from its use.
What does the Food and Drug Administration say?
Since Sept. 2010, the FDA has issued warnings to the public regarding an increased risk of bladder cancer to patients who take Actos. The first warning came after the release of the preliminary results of a 10-year study. The FDA issued a second warning in June 2011. By Aug. 2011, manufacturers of medications containing pioglitazone had to include warnings regarding this potential side effect.
Several studies went back and forth regarding whether a risk actually exists. The FDA continued to review numerous studies regarding the connection between Actos and bladder cancer. By Dec. 2016, the agency concluded that there may be a connection, and that warning labels on the medication needed to reflect that belief.
What warning does the FDA give doctors?
Doctors know that the potential health consequences of leaving Type 2 Diabetes uncontrolled include the following:
- Kidney damage
- Heart disease
- Nerve damage
Knowing this, doctors may decide that the risk of contracting bladder cancer is acceptable considering the benefits the medication may provide a patient and the health risks it can forestall. However, the FDA urges doctors to carefully consider the pros and cons of prescribing Actos before doing so. Of course, doctors shouldn't prescribe the drug to any patients with active bladder cancer.
What warning does the FDA give patients?
The agency tells patients whose doctors prescribed them Actos to watch for the following:
- Painful urination
- Bloody or red urine
- New or worsening urge to urinate
Any of these symptoms could indicate bladder cancer. If you experience any of them, you may want to contact your doctor immediately.
What happens if you contract bladder cancer from Actos?
If you find yourself in the unenviable position of suffering this terrible side effect from taking Actos, you have rights. Protecting your legal rights may require some help. These cases are not easy to handle alone, and having someone with experience on your side may increase your chances at successfully seeking compensation for the injuries caused to you.