Actos, also known as pioglitazone, has been prescribed since 1999 to help treat type 2 diabetes patients by controlling blood glucose levels. Once referred to as the world’s healthiest way for diabetes patients to control their blood sugar levels with the least amount of side effects, Actos quickly became a best-selling diabetes drug. Part of the thiazolidinedione (TDZ) class of drugs, Actos works by making the body’s cells more responsive to the insulin hormone produced by the pancreas.
However, within a few years, patients taking the world’s healthiest, best selling diabetes drug started suffering from major Actos side effects. Congestive heart failure (CHF), extreme edema, debilitating eye complaints – all from a drug that patients were made to believe was their healthiest choice. Another major Actos side effect that became increasingly apparent was Actos bladder cancer.
After these side effects began to surface, Actos lawyers took action to help patients who suffered significant health problems from Actos use, and help them pursue an Actos lawsuit.
In April 2014, a landmark settlement was reached in the litigation surrounding Actos. Takeda Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly & Co., the manufacturers of Actos, were ordered to pay a combined $9 billion in punitive dangers after a jury found that the companies hid the cancer risks associated with Actos use. This was the first U.S. trial of its kind.
How to Take Action
Now that the link between Actos and bladder cancer, congestive heart failure, and other debilitating health problems has been made clear, Actos lawyers have begun Actos litigation.
Already, more than 2,700 lawsuits have been filed in the Actos litigation. The majority of these cases have been consolidated in Louisiana.
In the Actos litigation, patients claim that Takeda did not sufficiently warn consumers about the drug risks involved with Actos. In fact, Actos litigation cites that Takeda continued to sell the drug despite its known connection to bladder cancer and congestive heart failure – a link that was known by the drug manufacturer even before the drug’s initial release. What’s more, Actos litigation shows that Takeda continued to sell and distribute Actos even after the research in their own study became increasingly evident concerning the Actos link to both bladder cancer and congestive heart failure.
Actos litigation has also helped to prove that Takeda intentionally concealed the disadvantages of Actos use, endangering consumer health.
Actos Bladder Cancer
Bladder cancer is a urological cancer involving malignant growths in the urinary bladder. For some patients, the first sign of bladder cancer comes from blood in the urine; for others, it’s lower back pain, unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, urinary tract infections or congestive heart failure. Others may have no symptoms at all. While medical advances have helped to make bladder cancer a manageable and treatable cancer, Actos bladder cancer is still a recurrent cancer. Meaning: if you get bladder cancer once, even Actos bladder cancer, it is likely to return in the future.
The Actos bladder cancer link was made within the first five years of a ten-year study undertaken by Actos manufacturer Takeda Pharmaceuticals. The study found that those taking Actos for over a year had a 40 percent increased risk of Actos bladder cancer compared to patients taking other diabetes medications. The longer a person takes Actos, or the higher the dosage at which a person is prescribed Actos, the more his or her body accumulates dangerous levels of Actos in the bloodstream, putting patients increasingly at risk of developing Actos bladder cancer.
Drug regulators in France, Germany and Canada responded quickly to the Takeda study by suspending Actos sales. However, in the U.S., Actos continues to be prescribed and distributed despite the Actos bladder cancer risk.
The FDA has not pulled Actos from the market yet because of the intensive nature with which Actos treats type 2 diabetes, a growing epidemic within the U.S. However, the FDA has issued harsh warnings about Actos. On June 15, 2011, the FDA issued a warning that just one year of Actos use raises the risk of bladder cancer by more than 40 percent. Coincidentally, the FDA also recommended that doctors refrain from prescribing Actos to patients who have or have had bladder cancer. Then, on August 4, 2011, the FDA published new warning labels for Actos, recommending that doctors should not prescribe Actos to patients with active bladder cancer and should exercise caution in prescribing Actos to patients with histories of bladder cancer. Additionally, the drug label advises that patients should consult their doctors if they experience any signs of bladder cancer such as blood in the urine or pain during urination. Even the ten-year Actos study initiated by Takeda Pharmaceuticals was, in fact, initiated at the request of the FDA – because of the FDA’s concern that Actos demonstrated a link to bladder cancer and heart failure even before it was released onto the market.