Diabetes drug in terrifying cancer link

I call it “prescription roulette.”

If you’ve got diabetes, your doc will have you take a spin on the drug wheel every couple of years to pick from the newest generation of diabetes meds – but if your number comes up, you don't win a fabulous Vegas jackpot.

You LOSE, and you lose big…because you have to live with devastating and even deadly side effects.

Now, the latest research shows how a once-popular diabetes drug you may have taken years ago could come back to haunt you today, even if you haven’t touched the stuff in a dog’s age.

It's called Actos, and it was supposed to be the “better than” option when the previous drug on the roulette wheel, Avandia, was found to cause heart problems.

Turns out it's not the “better than” option at all. In addition to packing a heart risk of its own, new research confirms Actos can increase your risk of bladder cancer.

And not by a little bit, either.

If you’ve taken Actos for any extended period of time, your risk of this disease skyrockets, jumping by 63 percent, according to the new study in The BMJ.

The biggest risks, of course, go to those who took it longest. If you took it for two or more years – which is no time at all when it comes to diabetes drugs – you’re facing that higher risk of bladder cancer already.

And if you’ve taken more than 28,000 mg over the course of a lifetime – a level most diabetics would reach in three to five years on the drug – you’re also at risk.

The company insists Actos is safe, but this link keeps popping up more often than a garden mole.

In 2012, for example, a study found Actos will increase the risk of bladder cancer by 83 percent – and that same 28,000 combined dose will increase the risk by more than 2.5 times.

Even the FDA has issued a warning over bladder cancer, saying in 2011 that the drug increases the risk of the disease by 40 percent. (They always seem to downplay every drug risk, don’t they?)

If you took Actos years ago, there's no way to “un-take” it today, of course.

But you CAN take action to protect yourself from the worst of the risk.

I'm no fan of willy-nilly screenings and the over-testing that dominates modern medicine. But if you've taken Actos, having yourself checked for bladder cancer might help you catch it early so you can get it taken care of before it becomes a problem.