What is Actos?
Pioglitazone (Actos) is an anti-diabetic drug that is used, along with proper diet and exercise, to control high blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It works by helping to restore your body’s proper reaction to insulin. Proper control of diabetes can lessen the risk of heart attack or stroke.
What are the side effects?
There are several common side effects that patients who have taken Actos could experience:
- Upper respiratory infection
- Sinus infection
- Muscle pain
- Tooth pain
- Sore throat
- Low blood sugar
While these side effects are still slightly painful, there are some extremely dangerous side effects that the drug Actos may cause:
- Bladder cancer
- Heart failure
- Liver failure
- Macular edema
- Bone fractures
How does Actos cause bladder cancer?
During clinical studies, drug-induced tumors were revealed in the urinary bladders of male and female rats after a two year study. In another study, the first five years of a 10 year follow up in humans showed an increased risk of bladder cancer in patients who took Actos for a long period of time. The FDA has stated that patients taking Actos for longer than a year have a 40% greater chance of bladder cancer.
Actos has a black box warning for its heart risks. The drug is associated with an increase in heart failure in patients with and without pre-existing heart conditions. Two Actos side effects; weight gain and water retention, both contribute to heart conditions.
Because of its dangerous side effects, Actos was recalled overseas. After reports of harmful side effects began to surface, government bodies started to investigate the drug. France was among the first countries to issue a recall, completely banning the drug from use after a study was done by the EMA (European Medicines Agency) . The study determined that the risk of bladder cancer in patients taking Actos was 22% higher than in patients using alternative drugs for diabetes. The ban was issued in June of 2011, and prior to that, around 230,000 French patients were taking Actos.
Germany soon followed suit after the results from the French study were made public. Soon after, India recalled Actos. Unfortunately, there has not been a recall of this drug in the U.S. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and still no recall.
Is the generic version safe?
The FDA approved generic versions of Actos, or pioglitazone, back in 2012, but the drug is still linked with severe side effects like bladder cancer and heart failure. Although the brand name Actos prescription is a costly $377/month, this is one bargain that should be avoided.
Actos Lawsuit & Settlements
Recently, Takeda Pharmaceutical announced they would be offering $2.2 billion to settle more than 8,000 federal and state lawsuits over the drug Actos. This deal is not finalized, but it would be a historic class action lawsuit settlement if it does. The total amounts to $275,000 per case involved. Some more serious cases, involving serious injury or death, will be likely to get higher settlement values around the price of $500,000. There are around eight thousand cases against Actos in Louisiana, California, Illinois, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia. The plaintiffs are claiming that Takeda Pharmaceutical failed to warn of the cancer risks of the diabetes drug.
If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with Bladder Cancer after using Actos, you may be entitled to substantial compensation.