Consumer Reports, the American consumer products reviewer, is telling its readers to avoid both the brand-name and the new generic versions of the type 2 diabetes drug Actos. “Our medical advisors say that people with diabetes should use pioglitazone, generic or brand-name Actos, only as a last resport,” says the organization’s blog site.
Generic versions of Actos, also known by the name pioglitazone, from three different manufacturers became eligible this week to be sold in the United States. The average retail price of brand-name Actos is about $377 for a 30-day prescription. The cost for generics should remain close to the brand-name price and are not expected to drop until more generics hit the market, according to Consumer Reports.
The consumer organization is recommending diabetes patients avoid the drug altogether unless other options have not worked. “Pioglitazone can cause serious side effects, such as an increased risk of heart failure, bone fractures, and bladder cancer. Other medications to treat diabetes, such as metformin, are a better first choice.”
Actos is a medication known as a thiazolidinediones, or TZD. Other drugs in this class include Avandia, also known as rosiglitazone. In 2010, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) severely restricted the use of Avandia after it was associated with serious cardiovascular events. Last year, the agency issued a warning that Actos had been linked to bladder cancer. Newer studies have shown that both Actos and Avandia can increase the risk for heart attacks and bladder cancer.
The consumer group’s medical advisors offered this recommendation: “If you’re on the drug, ask your doctor if it’s absolutely necessary and if you should switch to another drug.”
Source: Consumer Reports