Pioglitazone is an anti-diabetic drug (thiazolidinedione-type, also called “glitazones”) that when used with a proper diet and exercise program will help control high blood sugar with type 2 diabetes patients. It works by restoring the body’s proper response to insulin, thereby, lowering the blood sugar, according to WebMed.
In a report published by the British Medical Journal, researchers accessed data from the United Kingdom Clinical Practice Research Datalink to collect data from 145,806 patients newly treated with anti-diabetes drugs from January 1, to July 31, 2013. The use of Actos, the brand name for pioglitazone, researchers found was linked to an increased incidence of bladder cancer, especially when taken for a longer duration and higher cumulative dose, reports the Renal and Urology News.
During the average follow-up of 4.7 years, 622 patents were diagnosed with bladder cancer. The risk of bladder cancer was found to increase 33 percent, 66 percent and 78 percent in patients who took Actos for 1 year or less, 1 to 2 years, and more than 2 years, respectively. With a larger cumulative dose, the risk increased 63 percent, 58 percent, and 70 percent for cumulative doses, respectively.
Rosiglitazone, sold under the brand name Avandia, was also examined by the researchers and no relationship was found to suggest an increased bladder cancer risk. “The absence of an association with rosiglitazone suggests that the increased risk is drug specific and not a class effect,” said Marco Tuccori MD, of Jewish General Hospital in Montreal, Canada, reports the Renal and Urology News.