Actos, an anti-diabetic drug prescribed for type 2 diabetes, and sometimes for pre-diabetes and (off label) for polycystic ovarian syndrome in women, has been linked again to the dangerous side effect of possibly increasing the risk of bladder cancer.

Alison McCook (Reuters) reports, “Between 2004 and 2009, more than half a million adverse reactions among people taking anti-diabetic drugs were added to an official U.S. Food and Drug Administration database. Among those reports were 138 instances of bladder cancer in patients taking at least one of more than 15 different anti-diabetic drugs.”

According to her article, …”more than a fifth of those bladder cancers were in patients taking Actos (pioglitazone), suggesting a ‘disproportionate risk’ in comparison with other anti-diabetics, said study author Dr. Elisabetta Poluzzi of the University of Bologna in Italy.”

Bladder cancer is the sixth most common cancer in the United States.  National Cancer Institute statistics report there were approximately 70,000 new cases of bladder cancer diagnosed nationwide in 2010, and approximately 15,000 people died from bladder cancer in 2010.

More information about Actos, how it works, its use, and potential side effects, can be found on the National Institutes of Health PubMed Website.

Source: Alison McCook. Reuters Health, May 13, 2011. More signs diabetes drug linked to bladder cancer.