Another diabetes drug could be a killer, researchers discover
Actos (pioglitazone), one of the world’s most widely prescribed drugs for type II diabetes, increases the risk of bladder cancer. The latest discovery comes just weeks after the announcement that another anti-diabetic drug family increases the risk of death.
Diabetics are already at greater risk of developing cancer. Even before taking Actos, a diabetic’s risk of bladder cancer is 40 per cent – and the drug increases the risk, say researchers.
Actos is a thiazolidinedione, which lowers blood sugar by increasing the sensitivity of cells to insulin. An increased gladder cancer risk was seen with other anti-diabetic drugs in the same family, although the greatest increase was seen with Actos, say researchers from the University of Alberta.
The news follows the discovery that a new generation of anti-diabetics – the sulfonylureas, which include Glucotrol, Amaryl and Daonil – increase the risk of death by 50 per cent more than an old generation of diabetic drugs that were common in the 1920s.
(Source: Canadian Medical Association Journal, doi: 10.1503/cmaj.112102).