Researchers have confirmed a link between a popular class of type 2 diabetes drugs and bladder cancer, Renal & Urology News reports. The drugs are in a class known as thiazolidinediones, which include the brand-name medications Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone). The risk is even greater in patients who use Actos. “Consequently, pioglitazone (Actos) should be avoided in selected high-risk patients,” the medical publication warns.
The findings come from a meta-analysis, published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, aimed at determining the risk of bladder cancer among adults with type 2 diabetes taking this class of diabetes drugs. Type 2 diabetics are already at risk for bladder cancer. Researchers found a 22 percent higher risk of bladder cancer in patients using Actos in three separate cohort studies involving 1.7 million patients.
One of the studies researchers reviewed showed no association between Avandia and bladder cancer, though other studies did show some risk. But the strongest link was with Actos, especially in those who used the drug long term. Researchers say that the drug should not be given to patients with active bladder cancer and to use caution when prescribing it to those with a prior history of bladder cancer.
In 2011, news first emerged that Actos could be linked to bladder cancer in patients. It prompted the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to issue a safety alert and order stronger warnings on the drug’s label. Drug regulators in other countries, such as France, banned the drug altogether.
In 2010, FDA placed severe restrictions on Avandia after studies showed patients who used the drug were at greater risk for fatal heart attacks.
Source: Renal & Urology News