A once daily pill known as Actos is the brand name of the pharmaceutical chemical pioglitazone. Since 1999, Actos has has been sold in the US by manufacturer Takeda Pharamceuticals. Actos is a strong profit center for the drug company, and is one of their best sellers. Actos is sold under other names including: Duetact (pioglitazone/glimepiride), Actoplus Met (pioglitazone/metformin), and Actoplus Met XR (pioglitazone/metformin extended release). This drug is prescribed for treating Type II diabetes, and originally was seen as a safer alternative to Avandia.
However, Actos has its own set of problems. Patients who have used Actos may have an increased risk of developing bladder cancer, bone fractures, congestive heart failure, heart attack, heart disease, and liver damage. In an FDA study, diabetes patients on Actos for more than two years were found to have a higher risk of developing bladder cancer by 40%. Receiving higher doses of Actos has also lead to a higher occurrence of bladder cancer.
A “black box warning” is now required to be on every box of Actos to ensure that patients who might be taking the drug will know that they may be increasing their chance of getting bladder cancer. This type of warning is the strongest warning from the FDA. The Actos black box warning was made public in 2011. The FDA only labels products and drugs that have proven to be dangerous or to have life threatening side effects with this warning.
If you are currently diagnosed with Type II diabetes, and you have taken Actos in the past or are currently taking Actos, you may want to consult your physician. They may have other alternatives for you to try. If nothing else, it is probably better to live with Type II diabetes than have increased risk for bladder cancer or the list of other potentially dangerous diseases associated with Actos.
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