A new study adds further weight to the argument that people who use the diabetes drug Actos are at higher risk of developing bladder cancer.
A group of Montreal researchers reports people with Type 2 diabetes who take the drug are more than 80 per cent more likely to develop bladder cancer than people who don’t. And for those who take it over a prolonged period, the risk is higher still.
People who use the drug for more than two years have double the risk of developing bladder cancer than people who don’t take the medication. And the drug — its generic name is pioglitazone — is meant to be taken over the long term.
Earlier this year, Health Canada warned there were emerging signals that pioglitazone use might be linked to elevated rates of bladder cancer. The regulator had done a safety assessment on the drug, looking at early data from an ongoing study being conducted by the drug’s manufacturer, Takeda Canada Inc.
Based on data collected to the mid-way point of the 10-year study, Health Canada asked Takeda to update the drug’s labels to reflect the potential risk.
Dr. David Juurlink, head of the division of clinical pharmacology at the University of Toronto, said the Montreal group’s findings suggest the linkage is real.