According to some research studies, Pioglitazone, also known as Actos®*, may be linked to the development of bladder cancer. Both long-term and short-term exposure to the drug, which is used to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes, may significantly increase the risk of developing bladder cancer.

In response to these findings, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) enforced new label warnings for the drug in August 2011.

If you're currently taking Pioglitazone for type 2 diabetes — or if you've taken Pioglitazone in the past — you may feel understandably concerned about your risk of bladder cancer. In this case, we suggest you talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Your doctor may recommend you use a Cxbladder test to rule out bladder cancer and restore your peace of mind. For more information on the relationship between Actos and bladder cancer, read on.

* In several regions, various generic versions of pioglitazone (Actos) are available.

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How Are Actos and Bladder Cancer Related?

Though conflicting results continue to emerge, several studies have found a connection between exposure to the diabetes medication Actos and bladder cancer.

In June 2011, the US Food and Drug Administration said that Pioglitazone increased the risk of bladder cancer by 40 percent, depending on dosage and treatment duration. In another study, the risk increase was found to be as high as 83 percent.One meta-analysis of research on the subject revealed a slight but consistent risk increase, potentially depending on dosage, treatment duration, location and funding of the study.

Though several studies funded by manufacturers of the drug find no increased risk of bladder cancer in connection with Pioglitazone, the conflicting results indicate patients may need to approach the medication with caution.

Who Is at Risk of Bladder Cancer in Connection With Actos?

Considering the uncertainty surrounding Pioglitazone and bladder cancer, it's important to know whether you might be at risk.

If you have taken high doses of Actos or have taken Actos for a long time, it's a good idea to consult your doctor about your risk of bladder cancer. Additionally, if you're seeking treatment for type 2 diabetes and are considering taking Actos, ask your doctor about its connection to bladder cancer and consider other options that are available to you, if any.

What Are the Risk Factors?

Exposure to Actos alone may not significantly increase your risk for bladder cancer. However, the FDA's statement suggests that high dosages and long treatment duration may increase your risk of developing bladder cancer as a result of your diabetes medication.

In addition, other risk factors may further increase your risk of developing bladder cancer, such as:

  • Being older than 35 years of age
  • Having active bladder cancer or a history of bladder cancer
  • Having previously undergone radiation therapy
  • Being exposed to certain chemicals, such as in the workplace

You should not take Pioglitazone if you have active bladder cancer or a personal or family history of bladder cancer.

When Should You Seek Help From a Professional?

Catching bladder cancer early is an important part of increasing the likelihood of successful treatment. So, you should contact your doctor as soon as possible if you're concerned about your risk. In particular, though, you should reach out to a medical professional for testing if:

  • You have been taking Pioglitazone for diabetes longer than 12 months
  • You have been taking high doses of Pioglitazone
  • You have a personal or family history of bladder cancer
  • You notice blood in your urine
  • You experience regular urgency to urinate
  • You experience pain when urinating

If you think you might have any symptoms of bladder cancer, it's essential to reach out to your doctor for immediate testing. Even if you don't notice any symptoms, though, you may still want to contact your doctor. Researchers recommend that people with high-dose and long-term exposure to Pioglitazone receive regular monitoring for bladder cancer.

When you talk to your doctor about your concerns, they may suggest that you have a full urologic assessment. Alternately, your doctor might suggest that you use a Cxbladder test to rule out bladder cancer. This accurate, reliable and pain-free urine test can give you confidence, reassurance and peace of mind.

To learn more about how Cxbladder can help, reach out to us today.

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