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Avoid Actos and new generics, Consumer Reports warns

Filed August 28th, 2012 Joshua Sophy

The preeminent consumer publication in the U.S., Consumer Reports, is warning its readers and the public to avoid taking the newly-approved generic forms of the type 2 diabetes drug Actos due to its link to dangerous side effects, including bladder cancer.

According to the magazine’s Web site, the publication warns that the newly-approved and likely more affordable generic versions of Actos (pioglitazone). It called the drug a “last resort” for any diabetic and should be taken as such, only when all other treatments fail.

Actos rose the forefront in its class of type 2 diabetes drug, long hiding in the shadow of the former number-one drug in the fight against the disease that affects more Americans every day and from which millions already suffer, Avandia. Avandia was essentially removed from the market, though not entirely, after the Food and Drug Administration warned that taking it could result in fatal side effects.

Not much research had been conducted on Actos but now that it’s at the forefront of the diabetes drug market, more attention has been paid to it, namely its link to the dangerous bladder cancer side effect. Only recently has the FDA gone public with a warning that taking Actos for long periods of time or at high doses greatly increases a person’s chance of developing bladder cancer.

Despite that warning, the agency recently approved generic versions of Actos to be marketed alongside its name-brand alternative. Consumer Reports warns the public that they should avoid both unless “it’s absolutely necessary.” Instead, the publication recommends metformin, or that with glipizide or glimepiride.

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