Official Reports Show Link Between Diabetes Drug Actos and Bladder Cancer

Official Reports Show Link Between Diabetes Drug Actos and Bladder CancerMore signs that the diabetes drug Actos may be linked to bladder cancer were recently revealed as official reports of drug reactions were reviewed, Reuters reports.

According to the news source, anti-diabetic drugs were the focus of several studies from 2004 to 2009, in which more than half a million adverse reactions were reported and added to a database controlled by the Food and Drug Administration. In those reports, there were 138 cases of bladder cancer in patients who were taking at least one drug for diabetes treatment.

But a study conducted at the University of Bologna in Italy found that more than one-fifth of the reported cases of bladder cancer were found in those taking Actos, leading author of the study Dr. Elisabetta Poluzzi to notice a "disproportionate risk," the news provider stated.

Poluzzi's findings suggested that researchers should seriously look further into the use of Actos.

The Italian study was not the first to report that Actos may be linked to bladder cancer, though, as the FDA began safety reviews of the drug in 2010 after the preliminary results of a long-term study showed the risk of bladder cancer increased in patients who received prolonged treatments at high doses, according to Reuters.

Poluzzi and her colleagues returned to their research, reviewing reports of negative reactions found in the FDA's Adverse Event Reporting System, and found that scientists saw "disproportionate cases" of bladder cancer in patients taking Actos the year prior to the first major 2005 study. This suggested that "notoriety bias," the tendency to over report adverse reactions following a report that negative reactions could occur, was not as big a factor as originally thought.

The National Cancer Institute estimates that 70,530 adults were diagnosed with bladder cancer in 2010, 14,680 of which were fatal cases.