Dangers of Actos to Diabetes Patients

Drug manufacturers are challenged to create safe drugs that target a specific condition in the human body.  The research and development process inevitably reaps more failures than successes. When a blockbuster drug is created, it becomes a cash cow for pharmaceutical companies, while hopefully providing improved treatment options for patients.

But the challenge of creating targeted, safe drugs is not always met.  All drugs have side effects.  Drugs aimed at one medical condition often inadvertently damages another body part or system.  As personal injury lawyers, we frequently handle cases for clients injured by pharmaceuticals. In recent years, we have seen a great deal of damage caused by pioglitazone, brand name Actos®.

What does Actos do?

Insulin is a naturally-produced hormone that aids the body in absorbing glucose. When insufficient insulin is produced or absorbed, high blood sugar levels damage organs throughout the body.  By increasing insulin sensitivity, Actos was designed to help type 2 diabetics regulate their blood sugar levels.

Unfortunately, the side effects of Actos are serious and sometimes fatal.  Fluid build-up triggered by Actos contributes to the swelling of vessels in the eye, causing macular edema. It worsens congestive heart disease, leading to heart attack. Actos is also known to cause bladder cancer in some long-term users and liver failure in others.

Safety is paramount in novel drug therapies. Just as a drug affects the whole body, serious, disabling injury affects your life and the lives of those you love. If you have suffered side effects as a result of taking Actos, talk to your doctor about options. If injured by Actos, talk to us.

Latest News for Illinois Actos Cases

Actos® — or pioglitazone — is a drug designed to treat type 2 diabetes by making it easier to regulate blood sugar levels. But in August 2011, the FDA issued a warning regarding the drug, noting that it had been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer. Moreover, Actos may cause or worsen congestive heart failure, lead to lactic acidosis, increase risk of bone fractures, and react with other drugs.

Concerns regarding side effects of Actos have lead to widespread litigation throughout the country, with over 700 such lawsuits having been filed in Illinois state courts alone. Concerns regarding the efficient handling of these cases have led the Illinois Supreme Court to order all pending Actos litigation in Illinois state courts be consolidated in the Illinois Circuit Court for Cook County under the caption In re Actos Related Cases, No. 11 L 010011. The case was assigned to Judge Deborah Mary Dooling on December 9, 2011. Judge Dooling also presides over ongoing consolidated litigation concerning the DePuy ASR hip replacement. The case has continued to proceed smoothly, with counsel filing monthly status reports with the court as they continue to take depositions from claimants and other involved parties.

If you or a family member has been diagnosed with bladder cancer while or after taking Actos, you may be able to receive compensation for your injuries from the drug’s manufacturer. An experienced products liability attorney at Phillips Law Offices can advise you how the consolidated Actos litigation impacts you and what steps you should take to protect your rights.

Bladder Cancer After Taking Actos®? Call Your Doctor, then Call Your Lawyer

Doctors and attorneys across the nation are warning patients about a link between taking the diabetes drug Actos and the development of bladder cancer. Although the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Actos for the treatment of diabetes in 1999, pre-approval studies found that a correlation between Actos and bladder cancer existed in lab rats and may extend to humans. The FDA allowed the drug on the market even while definitive studies were pending.

In September 2010, the FDA began a safety review of Actos after the midpoint results of a 10-year study about the drug’s link to bladder cancer were made available. The study, which is still in progress, follows 193,000 patients taking Actos to treat diabetes. The preliminary results of the research show that taking Actos significantly increases the risk of developing bladder cancer.

The patients with the highest risk are those taking the largest doses and those taking Actos for over one year. Patients who have been taking Actos for longer than one year develop bladder cancer at a 40 percent higher rate than people who have never taken Actos.

The 2010 FDA safety review was followed by a May 2011 study of adverse events reported to the FDA by Actos patients and prescribing doctors from 2004 to 2009. According to the study, these reports suggest that Actos patients suffer from a disproportionate risk of developing bladder cancer.

Another study of FDA reports released in August 2011 was based on 22,512 people who reported experiencing side effects after taking Actos. Of this group of patients, 50 of them had developed bladder cancer.

European studies corroborate the findings of the U.S. studies. One study conducted in France found that the risk of developing bladder cancer by Actos patients was 22 percent greater than that of people not taking Actos. As a result of the study, Actos was pulled off the market in France and Germany. For more information on Actos legal issues, please see Phillips Law Offices’ Actos website.