Actos is the brand name for pioglitazone, a prescription medication manufactured and marketed in the United States by the Takeda Pharmaceutical Company of Japan. Actos is mainly prescribed by for the treatment of Type 2 diabetes. In the past, American pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly was responsible for distribution of Actos in the U.S. along with Takeda, but as of 2009, the Japanese firm is the sole distributor.
The main active ingredient in Actos puts pioglitazone in the same class as thiazolidinedione drugs. These medications have hypoglycemic properties that improve the body's positive response to the insulin hormone. Patients affected by Type 2 diabetes mellitus may be prescribed Actos, which is the most popular diabetes drug treatment in the world, in conjunction with other medications, a nutritional program and a fitness regime.
The popularity of Actos has also brought notoriety to Takeda. Government health agencies in Europe have taken strict action against pioglitazone due to increased bladder cancer warnings. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has ordered Takeda to adhere a black box label warning physicians and patients about the dangerous side effects. The caution label instructs patients to seek medical assistance if they notice hematuria — blood in the urine — or experience pain while urinating.
A wave of federal lawsuits filed by diabetic bladder cancer patients against Eli Lilly and Takeda was recently consolidated by a multidistrict litigation panel. Plaintiffs have from now until June 2013 to submit their cases for inclusion in the trial against Actos. It is too early to foresee if Eli Lilly or Takeda will settle claims before the trial, but the Japanese pharmaceutical firm is already performing research to find a suitable replacement for the best-selling Actos. See Phillips Law Offices’ website on Actos for more information.