The Serious Side Effects of Actos

Demand a Fair Recovery If You Have Been Hurt by ActosAt the end of the 20th century, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) provided new hope for people with Type 2 diabetes. In 1999, the agency approved Actos for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Since then many people with this condition have taken Actos to control their blood sugar and help prevent serious side effects of diabetes such as kidney damage, blindness, nerve damage and other complications.

Unfortunately, over the years some patients who thought they were improving their health by taking Actos had unintended and serious side effects that resulted in life-threatening conditions. If you or a loved one is taking Actos, then it is important to be aware of the potential side effects and symptoms of those side effects so that you can get immediate help.

Bladder Cancer

Bladder cancer is the most common serious side effect associated with Actos. The FDA has said that patients taking Actos for more than one year have a 40 percent increased risk for bladder cancer. In May 2012, a study published in the British Medical Journal (BMJ) put that risk much higher—at 83 percent. Bladder cancer can be deadly, and many lawsuits have been filed by people who have developed this serious disease because of Actos.

Chronic Kidney Disease

A recent study completed by Chinese doctors suggests that there may also be an increased risk of developing chronic kidney disease if you take Actos to treat diabetes. The study included approximately 35,000 diabetes patients and was published in the scientific journal PloS One in 2014. According to researchers who conducted this study, a diabetes patient who takes Actos to treat his or her diabetes is about four times more likely to develop chronic kidney disease as a diabetes patient who is not taking Actos to treat his or her condition.

As of the end of April 2014, there have been no FDA warnings issued about the possible connection between Actos and chronic kidney disease. However, if you take Actos then it is important to be aware of the potential signs of chronic kidney disease which include:

  • Loss of appetite.
  • Unusual fatigue.
  • Weight loss.
  • Headaches.
  • Itchy skin.
  • Bone pain.
  • Changes in the color of your skin.
  • Vomiting.

If you experience any of these symptoms or any other symptom of a chronic kidney problem, then you should contact your doctor immediately.

Heart Attack and Heart Failure

Whether or not you have a pre-existing heart problem, Actos still carries a black-box warning—the strongest caution from the FDA—for its heart risks. Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Frequent coughing or wheezing
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Increased heart rate
  • Buildup of excess fluid in body tissues
  • Confusion

Any of these conditions should be promptly evaluated by a doctor so that you can get appropriate treatment.

Liver Failure and Hepatitis

Liver failure and hepatitis are other serious conditions that have been linked to Actos. Symptoms of liver failure include:

  • Dark urine.
  • Yellowing of the eyes or skin.
  • Persistent nausea or vomiting.
  • Stomach or abdominal pain.

It is important to treat these symptoms as a medical emergency and to get prompt medical care if you experience any of them while taking Actos.

Macular Edema

Macular edema is swelling or thickening of the eye's macula, the part of the eye responsible for detailed, central vision. Diabetics are already at risk of developing macular edema, but it is believed that taking Actos increases that risk. Symptoms of macular edema include:

  • Blurred vision
  • Double vision
  • Eye floaters

Any of these symptoms should be promptly reported to both the doctor treating your diabetes and your ophthalmologist.

What If There Was Another Way to Treat Type 2 Diabetes?

Actos is not the only treatment available for type 2 diabetes. Other treatments include:

  • Oral medications such as sulfonylureas, meglitinides, biguanides, and alpha glucosidase inhibitors.
  • Insulin.
  • Other treatments.

You should always speak with your doctor before starting or discontinuing any medication and about how best to manage your type 2 diabetes. And, if you are concerned about the risks of Actos, then you should have that conversation sooner rather than later.