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Type II Diabetes Drug Actos:Overview

Type 2 diabetes is a serious but treatable condition that affects nearly 25 million Americans. Because diabetes affects the levels of glucose absorption by the body through the bloodstream, many patients are given insulin therapy to increase the efficiency of this process. Sometimes, though, patients do not respond well enough to insulin therapy alone. This is when a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones may be brought into the treatment picture.

One drug in this class that gained international attention in 2007 was Avandia. The attention came from the release of a study that showed that Avandia was linked to increases in risk of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and death. A competing drug, known as Actos, was not shown to carry these side effects, and thus grew rapidly in popularity. In fact, Actos became so popular that it was the 10th most prescribed drug in the United States by 2008, bringing in nearly 5 billion dollars in sales in that year alone.

Takeda Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of Actos, enjoyed continued success until August of 2010, when the results of another study reveal that Actos is actually no safer than Avandia as far as heart-related side effects are concerned. Around this same time, results of other long-term studies are published that reveal a strong correlation between the continued use of Actos and bladder cancer.

The U.S. Food & Drug Administration took no real action against Actos or Takeda until June of 2011, after another study linking Actos to bladder cancer caused the French government to remove Actos from shelves and prohibit the prescription of the drug. The government of Germany announced the next day that it would also prohibit doctors from prescribing Actos to diabetes patients based on these alarming study results.

A few days later, the F.D.A. finally decided to take action in the matter of Actos and the growing number of potentially deadly Actos side effects. They chose to make an announcement alerting the public to the strong link between long-term Actos use and the development of bladder cancer and update the warning on the packaging of the drug to further warn consumers. No action was taken to remove the drug from the market by either the F.D.A. or Takeda, however.

Patients who were prescribed Actos from 2007-2011 have begun to develop cases of Actos bladder cancer, as well as heart-related side effects from the drug. These patients have begun to explore their legal options in this matter, citing that Takeda knew about the potential side effects long before the public was made aware of them, and that it may have knowingly kept this information secret in order to assure continued sales.

Insiders in the legal field say that there are literally hundreds of cases pending against Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and more inquires coming in every day. Some estimate that the number of cases will grow into the tens of thousands before all is said and done. Patients that have been prescribed Actos should consult a legal professional concerning their rights in this matter and the potential for bringing suit for medical expenses and pain and suffering related to the side effects of Actos.

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