Since the explosion of the Avandia scandal, there's been a massive rush to switch diabetics over to Actos, the other major diabetes drug.
But the "other" drug comes with "other" risks -- and a new report shows again how there's just no such thing as a safe diabetes med.
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.
Actos was just one of those 15 meds... but it was linked to more than a fifth of the reports, according to the study in Diabetes Care.
Now, I know that 20 percent of 138 cases of bladder cancer over 5 years doesn't sound like a lot... and it's probably not going to scare anyone away from Actos.
But it's not the first time we've seen a link between Actos and bladder cancer.
- Last year, data from the midpoint of a 10-year trial found that patients who took the highest doses of Actos, and those who took the drug for the longest periods had an increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Two earlier studies -- both three-year clinical trials -- found a higher risk of bladder cancer in Actos patients.
- A study on rats found bladder tumors in males that were given the rodent equivalent of a human dose.
And if you're still not scared, consider this: Actos has been linked to its own Avandia-style heart risks.
In one study, Actos patients actually suffered more heart attacks than patients who took Avandia -- and both drugs had similar rates of heart failure and death.
Despite these and other risks, the mainstream isn't just switching former Avandia patients over to Actos -- they're actually trying to get people who don't even have diabetes to take it.
As I told you recently, the drug's manufacturer has been touting a company-funded study that claims Actos can prevent diabetes in prediabetics -- despite the fact that the study was way too short to reach any such conclusion.
There's really only one thing you need to know here, whether you're trying to control diabetes or just trying to avoid it: lifestyle changes will beat drugs -- and they'll beat them every single time.