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What Is Actos®?

Actos is a prescription medication for type 2 diabetics. It is meant to accompany diet and exercise to help the body control blood sugar. It works by helping the body's cells be more sensitive to insulin, a hormone produced in the pancreas.

Insulin, which is a protein, helps the body to process sugar (glucose) in the blood. Thus, instead of staying in the blood, where glucose can accumulate to unsafe levels, the sugar passes into the body's cells where it can do its job of creating energy, and the blood levels of glucose decrease.

Generic Actos®

The generic form of Actos® is pioglitazone. It is in a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones, which act to lower blood sugar. Takeda Pharmaceuticals manufactures Actos®. The drug was the tenth best-selling medication in the United States in 2008, when it sold over $2.4 billion of the product.

Actos® Linked to Bladder Cancer

Actos® has recently been linked to bladder cancer, according to a U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) safety announcement. The agency said that an interim review of a 10-year study by Takeda revealed that taking Actos® for over a year put patients at greater risk for bladder cancer.

Similar findings from a three-year French study caused that country to ban Actos® only a few days before the FDA announcement. Germany quickly followed the French ban and also made Actos® illegal. The FDA said in its announcement that it was reviewing the results of the French study.

Actos® vs. Avandia®

Avandia®, made by GlaxoSmithKline, in generic form is called rosiglitazone. Like Actos®, Avandia® is the class of drugs called thiazolidinediones. Both are prescribed to treat type 2 diabetes.

Avandia® has been the subject of controversy over the last few years because studies showed an increased risk of heart attack and heart failure among its users. GlaxoSmithKline has done its own studies and vehemently rejects any criticism.

Both drugs have been linked to heart attack and heart failure in its users, but the risks seem to be less with Actos®. Meanwhile, Actos® now has its plate full, dealing with the new information linking it to bladder cancer. The FDA restricted use of Avandia® to only patients who didn't have success when taking Actos®. The new link raises concerns of the safety of both drugs.

For more information, contact our Actos® lawyers today.

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Actos News

  • Avandia®, Actos® Linked to Vision Problems

    June 13, 2012

    According to study authors, patients taking Actos® and Avandia® are 2.3 times more likely to develop macular edema than those who aren’t taking the medications. “Clinicians should be vigilant in the clinical screening for diabetic macular edema among those patients … Continue reading

  • Actos May Increase the Risk of Bladder Cancer, Says FDA

    June 17, 2011

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) notified healthcare providers and patients of the possible risk of bladder cancer in people who are treated with Actos® for more than one year. The FDA warning is based on an interim review … Continue reading