Following warnings last year by the United States and several countries in Europe, the top drug safety agency in Canada announced this month that they were also warning patients about the safety of the diabetes drug Actos.
On April 19, 2012, Health Canada issued a warning that Actos may cause an increased risk of bladder cancer. They also announced that they will require additional warnings to the packaging of the drug to alert patients of the risk.
Health Canada is much like the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. or the European Medicines Agency in Europe. Both agencies warned of the safety of the drug last summer.
After a warning on June 16, 2011 by the FDA, Health Canada launched their own review of patient data. The results showed those patients taking Actos for long periods of time had more than a 40% increased risk of developing bladder cancer.
The Canadian study yielded similar results to a French study of more than 150,000 people published last year which found long-term use could increase bladder cancer occurrences by as much as 40 percent.
In the United States, the FDA is concluding a ten year study of the drug’s side effects. However, thousands of patients have already pursued legal action. Instead of an Actos class action lawsuit, experts predict as many as 10,000 could file an individual Actos lawsuit.
Since bladder cancer is highly treatable if detected early, anyone who has taken Actos should monitor for symptoms of the disease. Anyone who has been diagnosed should contact a lawyer about their legal options.