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Diabetes mellitus drug Actos linked to bladder cancer

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By Jimmy Downs

Feb 27, 2013 (foodconsumer.org) -- Diabetes mellitis drugs thiazolidinediones particularly pioglitazone which is also known as Actos may increase risk of bladder cancer, according to a new study in the journal Oncologist.

The meta-analysis of data from previous studies led by Cristina Bosettia from Istituto di Ricerche Farmacologiche Mario Negri in Milano, Italy and colleagues found a link between use of thiazolidinediones and increased risk of bladder cancer.

Thiazolidinediones, also known as glitazones, are a class of medications introduced in the late 1990s and indicated for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2.

The increase in the bladder cancer was particularly higher among patients with diabetes mellitus who used diabetes medication called pioglitazone, the authors reported.
For the study, the authors searched PubMed and Medline, two major medical databases and found seventeen studies satisfying inclusion criteria.

The study showed that use of thiazolidinediones was not associated with the risk of total cancer.   But use of pioglitazone was associated with 20 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.  Another diabetes mellitus drug rosiglitazone was not linked to the risk of cancer.

Longer use  of pioglitazone was associated with higher risk of bladder cancer.  Using the drug for more than two years was linked to a 42 percent increased risk whereas using a cumulative dose of more than 28 grams of the drug was correlated with 64 percent increased risk of bladder cancer.

The researchers concluded "there is a modest excess risk of bladder cancer, particularly with reference to pioglitazone."

Pioglitazone, a diabetes mellitus drug, is marketed as Actos in the USA by Takeda Pharmaceuticals whereas rosiglitazone another antidiabetic drug, which is also known as Avandia, is marketed by GlaxoSmithKline.  Use of Avandia has been associated with a range of health conditions including heart disease, stroke, bone fractures, eye damage, and hepatotoxicity.

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