Diabetes is one of the most common and life-altering diseases of our time. Millions of Americans suffer from diabetes, with the rates growing every year. Those coping with the disease are encouraged to manage it with a variety of factors, including diet, medication, and insulin. Unfortunately one of the drugs commonly prescribed for diabetes may be causing a much more serious, and fatal, disease.
Actos is the brand name of the drug pioglitazone hydrochloride. Pioglitazone is one of the most commonly prescribed medications for a specific version of diabetes, Type II diabetes mellitus. Shown to reduce blood sugar levels, Actos has been so widely prescribed that by 2008 it was the 10th-highest-selling drug in the United States.
Unfortunately, new information indicates it may also cause cancer. The Food & Drug Administration (FDA) released a warning that the use of Actos is associated with bladder cancer. According to the warning, statistical evidence shows that those taking Actos or any pioglitazone-containing drug face a 40% increase in the risk of developing bladder cancer. Bladder cancer requires aggressive treatment, many times including surgery, and is often fatal.
Recently, research has also raised the question of whether Actos is implicated in a higher rate of patients needing total hip replacement surgery.
Unfortunately, simply staying clear of Actos is not enough. Anyone suffering from diabetes should consult with their doctor before quitting any medication they have been prescribed, and in some cases the medication is absolutely necessary to treatment. To make the issue even more confusing, pioglitazone occurs in a number of diabetes medications, sometimes in combination with other drugs. It’s not only Actos and generic pioglitazone hydrochloride that you have to watch out for.
If you are currently taking Actos or any pioglitazone-containing drug, you may wish to ask your physician whether there is a different drug that you could switch to. Do not switch or discontinue drugs without your physician’s approval.
More importantly, be aware of the early symptoms of bladder cancer if you are taking pioglitazone in any dosage. If you find yourself noticing bloody or reddish urine, pain during urination, abdominal pain or lower back pain, or the urgent need to urinate, talk to your doctor immediately and ask to be checked for bladder cancer.
At Steinger, Iscoe & Greene we know that millions of diabetes patients have had Actos recommended to them without any warning about this potentially deadly side effect. If you or a relative are taking Actos and had any of these complications, talk to one of our legal professionals for free immediately.