The risk of bladder cancer with the type 2 diabetes drug Actos is obvious and could have been predicted earlier, say French officials in an editorial that accompanied a new study about the health risks associated with Actos.
Previous studies linking Actos to bladder cancer resulted in the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issuing a warning about the drug. France and Germany went further and banned the medication.
Last month, a large cohort published in the British Medical Journal said that patients who took Actos were 83 percent more likely to develop bladder cancer than patients who did not use the drug. And, diabetics who took the medication for two years or more, or who took higher doses, were at even greater risk for developing bladder cancer.
The safety label of Actos says patients who are being treated for bladder cancer should not use the medication. It also warns patients to tell their doctor if they develop signs of bladder cancer, such as blood or red color in the urine, increased need to urinate, or pain during urination.
“It can confidently be assumed that [Actos] increases the risk of bladder cancer,” wrote Doninique Hillaire-Buys and Jean-Luc Faillie from the Department of Medical Pharmacology and Toxicology in Montpellier, France, in the editorial that accompanied the new study. “It also seems that this association could have been predicted earlier.”