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Study Confirms Actos Bladder Cancer Danger, Again

Filed August 15th, 2012 Laurie

A new study published online this month in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute says a popular class of diabetes drugs, known as thiazolidinedione (TZDs), increases patients’ risk of developing bladder cancer.

TZDs, including the drug Actos, account for about 20 percent of the drugs prescribed to patients in the U.S. According to the study, patients taking these drugs are two to three times more likely to develop bladder cancer than those who take sulfonylurea drugs.
Patients with diabetes already have a slightly higher chance of bladder cancer than the general population. Among the general population, about 30 in 100,000 people develop bladder cancer, and about 40 in 100,000 people with diabetes develop the disease.

The study found that in patients taking Actos or other TZDs, approximately 170 in 100,000 would be expected to develop the disease. About 60 in 100,000 patients taking sulfonylurea drugs would be expected to develop bladder cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration has already warned that Actos may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer, and France and Germany have removed the drug from the market.

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