After the FDA approved Actos in July 1999, it initially saw success in treating patients with diabetes. However, it has now been shown to increase a patient's chances of developing bladder cancer. The FDA has called for additional warnings and to discontinue use in certain patients, but it has not issued a recall. Because the drug is still being prescribed, patients with bladder cancer need to find out if they have been affected by Actos use.
A five-year research project that reviewed nearly 200,000 Actos patients showed that the risk of developing bladder cancer rose by as much as 40 percent. This risk increased the longer the patient took the drug and the higher the dosage. In response, the FDA issued a "boxed warning" for the drug. This means highly visible warnings were printed on Actos labels before it could be shipped, telling patients about this side effect.
If you are an Actos patient, your first step should be to talk to your doctor about these risks and whether the drug is right for you. Secondly, be aware of bladder cancer symptoms so you and your family can seek help if needed. When caught in its early stages, bladder cancer is highly treatable.
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