Popular Diabetes Drug Actos Suspended in European Countries

Popular Diabetes Drug Actos Suspended in European CountriesAfter Takeda Pharmaceutical Co.’s best selling diabetes drug Actos was shown to be linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer in a French study, the drug was suspended in France and Germany, Bloomberg reported.

According to the news source, the French drug regulator known as Afssaps said that patients should not immediately stop taking the drug without talking to their doctors, but that physicians should cease to prescribe the drug following a meeting that weighed the medicine’s risks.

The mega-selling drug Actos, known also as pioglitazone, was responsible for Takeda’s massive report of $4.8 billion last year and made up 27 percent of Takeda’s revenue. The drug appeared in Europe in 2000 and was said to be an alternative treatment to metformin, which had been the standard prescription until 2000. The French drug regulator estimates that about 230,000 people were prescribed Actos throughout the country, the media outlet stated.

The European Medicines Agency (EMA), which had already been eyeing Actos and researching its possible bladder cancer risks, began an examination of the results of the French study in order to further clarify findings.

Following the EMA’s inquiry into the harmful side effects of Actos, Germany joined France in suspending the drug for diabetes treatments, and recommended that the EMA suspend all marketing approval for the drug across all 27 nations of the European Union, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.

The news source states that American doctors are considering no longer prescribing thiazolidinediones, or TZD’s, in the wake of all the research done on its link to bladder cancer.

“I don’t think doctors are going to continue to prescribe TZD-class drugs, and as far as my practice is concerned, I will tell my patients to stop taking Actos,” Albert Levy, an endocrinologist at Mount Sinai in New York, told the Chronicle.