Bladder cancer linked to type 2 diabetes drug

From nearly the moment it was invented, the type 2 diabetes drug Actos has been linked to bladder cancer. During the drug’s clinical trials, bladder tumors showed up in male lab rats. Once the drug was released to the public, the disease started showing up in Actos patients. Yet, despite these Actos complications, the drugs’ sales shot through the roof.

With the help of tiny font, glitzy advertising and the downfall of its main competition, Actos rose to stardom, and the bladder cancer risk went largely unnoticed for years. By the time researchers had definitive proof, Actos had a hold on the market and the drug was established as a household name.

Actos Moves In

It began in 1999 when the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Actos for sale. The active ingredient, pioglitazone, works by making the cells more receptive to insulin, a key component to type 2 diabetes control. While Takeda was trying to establish Actos as the go-to drug, another drug in the same family, GlaxoSmithKline’s type 2 diabetes drug, Avandia, was having its own problems. At the time, Avandia was on the top of the type 2 diabetes drug food chain — that was, until it was linked to heart problems. Seeing their chance, Takeda executives pushed Actos as a safer alternative. The public bought into it.

Soon Actos owned the diabetes market. Doctors, convinced that Actos was a safer medication with few or no side effects, wrote millions of prescriptions – more than 100 million prescriptions globally by 2011.  Patients trusted it.

Actos-Bladder Cancer Link Revealed

While all this maneuvering was going on, Actos had a secret in plain sight. Written in tiny font on the drug’s label, Takeda revealed that the medication was shown to cause bladder tumors in male rats.  Even though the FDA knew of the risks, most of the public did not. The FDA ordered Takeda to launch a 10-year investigational study into the link at the same time the drug was made publically available. In 2007, Takeda said the initial results of the study showed that those taking the drug for longer than a year had 40 percent increased risk for bladder cancer.  About the same time, drug regulators in Germany and France revealed similar findings from their own Actos study. Some European countries banned or restricted the drug’s sales. The FDA’s response was to only added more wording to the drug’s label, underscoring the bladder cancer risk.

Actos Collapse?

Today, Actos has fallen out of favor with physicians and patients. Doctors don’t want to prescribe it, and patients don’t trust it. While the Takeda-run study won’t be completed until 2013, the latest independent study shows that Actos increases the bladder cancer risk up to 80 percent. At the same time, a whistleblower has accused Takeda of orchestrating the downfall of Avandia to promote Actos and skewing the FDA data to make the drug seem safer.

What’s left are the patients who are left diseased and worried after taking Actos? Many have started filing Actos lawsuits, against Takeda.


This information is provided by and is not suitable for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. is wholly responsible for this article, and should any third party wish to discuss or have concerns over any part of this article, we may be contacted at: [email protected]

Related Posts - MSC News

  • GSK’s malaria vaccine could be in use by 2015October 10, 2013 -- GSK’s malaria vaccine could be in use by 2015
    The world’s very first malaria vaccine could finally be available in 2015 and in widespread use after “significant” results were shown during an ongoing clinical trial. This would offer a significant ...
  • World’s first Malaria Vaccine on target for 2015July 30, 2014 -- World’s first Malaria Vaccine on target for 2015
    Health experts are adamant that the the world’s first malaria vaccine will be available on the market by 2015 as another option for malaria prevention, after a hugely encouraging study showed that tho...
  • The FDA clamp down on ‘generic Tamiflu’February 21, 2013 -- The FDA clamp down on ‘generic Tamiflu’
    As the UK’s bitterly cold winter season slowly comes to an end, the number of influenza cases will probably start to decrease and thus the need for the effective widely used medication Tamiflu will si...
  • Dismay at the effectiveness of GSK’s malaria vaccineMarch 21, 2013 -- Dismay at the effectiveness of GSK’s malaria vaccine
    The expectations and anticipation regarding the world’s first potential malaria vaccine have been dealt a blow after trial results demonstrated that the protection the vaccine offers, can significantl...
  • Viagra for diabetes? Not as bizzare as it sounds…November 19, 2015 -- Viagra for diabetes? Not as bizzare as it sounds…
    A new study has shown that wonder erectile dysfunction drug Viagra may help to stave off the onset of type 2 diabetes. The Researchers involved in the study discovered that the medication sildenafi...
  • July 18, 2012 -- Second new weight loss drug is given an FDA seal of approval
    Vivus, Inc. has been given to go ahead to sell a new weight loss medication named ‘Qsymia’ by the US regulators The Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The approval from the FDA comes less than a mont...
  • June 15, 2012 -- The FDA and Pfizer hit out at the global counterfeit drugs trade
    The Foods and Drugs Administration (FDA) spoke out yesterday about the global crisis on counterfeit medicines finding their way into drug stores and how the internet plays its role in the problem. The...
  • celebrity asthma sufferersJuly 13, 2012 -- Asthma inhaler sensor given clearance by FDA
    Asthma sufferers all around the world may soon have a revolutionary device in their possession after the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) granted a 510(k) clearance on Tuesday to a Madison based ...
This entry was posted in General Health News and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.