Actos is a once-popular oral diabetes medication that has since received significant scrutiny for its bevy of adverse side effects including the increased risk of bladder cancer. The medication is geared for those with Type II (non-insulin dependent) diabetes and helps control blood sugar levels. The drug is manufactured by Takeda Pharmaceuticals and has been suspended for sale in many European markets since July 2011.
Used with proper diet and exercise, Actos is marketed as an effective tool for the maintenance of Type II diabetes. The drug serves a dual-function of helping the body utilize the insulin it already naturally produces while helping to stop the liver from making excess sugar if sugar production is unnecessary. The drug directs sugar in the bloodstream to its various functions so it does not build up and cause the side effects associated with diabetic shock. Actos also has an effect on cholesterol and may help those suffering from high cholesterol.
The FDA issued a strict warning for users of Actos that the drug has a significant link to bladder cancer. The risk increases the longer the patient uses the drug and should report any urinary abnormalities to a medical professional immediately. The drug has been pulled from the market in France and Germany after thousands of reports of bladder cancer surfaced from those currently or previously exposed to Actos. Possible signs of bladder cancer include blood in the urine, painful or frequent urination and the feeling of the need to eliminate urine without results.
The drug currently contains an FDA Black Box label, the highest warning of its kind. Congressional hearings were commenced in 2007 to adjudicate whether the FDA knew of the risk of disease associated with Actos but failed to issue warnings. Thereafter, the FDA required that all Actos prescriptions clearly warn the user of the potential for cancer. Lawsuits have commenced across the nation in response to Actos’ side effects.
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