People with type 2 diabetes should use the drug Actos (pioglitazone) only if all other options have failed, and people with pre-diabetes should never use it, says Consumer Reports, the well-known consumer watchdog organization.
Two recent studies found that the drug increases the risk for bladder cancer, particularly in men and with long-term use. The first study involved 193,000 people 40 or older with type 2 diabetes. The second study involved 1.5 million people.
The data prompted the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a safety warning for all drugs that contain the active ingredient pioglitazone. This includes the brand names Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, and Duetact.
The FDA advises people who have previously had or currently have bladder cancer not to use the drug, but Consumer Reports is taking a more aggressive approach by urging diabetics and pre-diabetics to avoid pioglitazone if at all possible. Not only has the medication been linked to bladder cancer, it has also been associated with heart failure and bone fractures.
Avandia, a type 2 diabetes drug in the same class as Actos, was severely restricted by the FDA because of serious and often fatal cardiovascular events.
“If you’re on Actos, ask your doctor if it’s really necessary and if you should switch to another drug,” a Consumer Reports drug safety report urged consumers. “We recommend the drug metformin, either alone or with glipizide or glimepride, for most people with type 2 diabetes, combined with a healthy diet, exercise, and losing excess weight.”
Source: Consumer Reports