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Actos Linked to 40% Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

Actos Linked to 40% Increased Risk of Pancreatic Cancer

July 22, 2015 — The diabetes drug Actos has been linked to a 41% increased risk of pancreatic cancer, but no increased risk of bladder cancer, in a 10-year study ordered by the FDA.

Conclusions were based on data compiled since 1997 on about 236,000 adults over the age of 40 who used Actos to treat diabetes. Results were published by the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) on July 21.

Actos users were 41% more likely to be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and 13% more likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer. There was no statistically significant increased rate of bladder cancer.

Even so, researchers said it was too early to conclude that Actos causes cancer:

“There was no statistically significant increased risk of bladder cancer associated with pioglitazone use. … The increased prostate and pancreatic cancer risks associated with ever use of pioglitazone merit further investigation.”

According to WebMD, diabetic patients often suffer from chronic inflammation in the pancreas, which increases their long-term risk of pancreatitis.

In 2011, the FDA issued a Safety Communication after the 5-year results of the study found a 40% increased risk of bladder cancer. Over 5,000 lawsuits were eventually filed and Takeda was accused of intentionally concealing risk information to boost profits. Last year, Takeda was hit with a record-setting $9 billion jury verdict in Louisiana. In April 2015, Takeda offered a $2.4 billion settlement for the “vast majority” of lawsuits, or nearly $300,000 per case.

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