1. Actos diabetes drug linked to bladder cancer

    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.

  2. Actos risks highlighted in lawsuit over diabetes drug

    When the diabetes drug Avandia was pulled from the market due to its heart risk, docs rushed to switch their patients over to the supposedly safer rival drug Actos.

    I say "supposedly" because I didn't buy it myself. There are just too many studies out there that show Actos to be every bit as bad as Avandia, if not worse.

    Now, a new lawsuit shows what I feared -- that docs who switched their patients from one to the other may have been sending them out of the frying pan and into the fryer.

    Dr. Helen Ge, a former safety consultant and medical reviewer for Takeda Pharmaceuticals -- maker of Actos -- alleges that the company routinely downgraded her assessments of congestive heart failure linked to the drug from "serious" to "non-serious."

    As a result, she says hundreds of cases of congestive heart failure were incorrectly reported.

    The semantics game didn't end there. Dr. Ge says her supervisors ordered her to change cases she had determined were related to the drug to "unrelated."

    So we go from serious and related events… to non-serious and unrelated ones. And yes, that makes a huge difference in how the government treats that information.

    That's assuming they even get the information at all. In addition to all that other monkey business, Dr. Ge says a company database lists 100 cases of bladder cancer linked to Actos -- but only 72 were reported to the FDS.

    The company denies all this, of course. And Ge's lawsuit, if it succeeds, has the potential to make her very wealthy.

    But this is more than just the case of a disgruntled employee, because the research shows that Actos isn't nearly as safe as you've been led to believe.

    Back in 2010, a major study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes found that roughly the same number of Avandia and Actos patients died of heart attack, heart failure, and death -- four percent in all.

    In addition, several studies have found a link between Actos and bladder cancer -- especially in patients who take the highest doses for the longest periods.

    Ultimately, a jury will decide if the company has been lying or telling the truth. But the jury was out a long time ago on a much bigger issue: Diabetes drugs are not safe -- and if you're on them, work with your own doctor to find your way off.

  3. Actos in new cancer link

    When researchers tracked more than half a million diabetes drug reactions reported to the FDA between 2004 and 2009, they found 138 cases of bladder cancer among patients who took one or more of 15 different meds, including Actos.
  4. Diabetes drugs for everyone

    There isn't a drug in the world that can undo the ravages of the lifestyle that leads to diabetes--but that won't stop Big Pharma from trying to sell you one anyway.
  5. Same old drug, same old risks

    Researchers examined data on 810,000 users of either Avandia or Actos who took part in one of 16 clinical trials, and found that Avandia users faced a 16 percent higher risk of heart attack, a 23 percent rise in the odds of congestive heart failure, and a 14 percent increase in death when compared to those who took Actos.
  6. Diabetes drug linked to cancer risk

    While the spotlight has been on Avandia's heart risk, the FDA now says it's putting the drug's main rival, Actos, under review after new data linked it to an increased risk of bladder cancer.

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