Tags: diabetes | bladder | cancer | drugs

Diabetes Drugs Tied to Bladder Cancer

Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:35 PM

A popular class of diabetes drugs, taken by more than 15 million Americans, has been linked to an increased risk of bladder cancer.
Researchers from the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine found patients taking thiazolidinedione (TZDs) drugs – accounting for 20 percent of the drugs prescribed to diabetics – are far more likely to develop bladder cancer than those taking diabetes medications known as sulfonylureas.
The findings, published online in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, are significant because diabetic patients already face increased risks of developing bladder cancer.
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For the study, researchers analyzed 60,000 type 2 diabetes patients in the United Kingdom. They found those treated with the TZD drugs pioglitazone (Actos) or rosiglitzaone (Avandia) for five or more years had a two-to-three-fold increase in bladder cancer risk, compared to those taking sulfonylurea medications, such as glipizide (Glucotrol).
"Diabetes is one the most common chronic diseases worldwide, affecting 285 million people,” noted lead Dr. Ronac Mamtani. “There are many factors clinicians must weigh in deciding which drug to use to control a patient's diabetes, and these new data provide important information to include in that decision-making process.
“Our study shows that doctors who care for patients with diabetes should be very aware of any bladder-related symptoms patients might be having, like blood in the urine, and take steps to further evaluate those issues."
Most patients no longer take Avandia since it was linked to severe cardiovascular problems, but Actos is the ninth most commonly prescribed drug in the nation, accounting for some 15 million prescriptions each year. It is a common alternative when patients can no longer take the first-line diabetes drug Metformin.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has already warned that Actos may be associated with a risk of bladder cancer. The new findings add to mounting evidence against the entire class of TZDs, researchers said.
The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
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Diabetes drugs taken by more than 15 million Americans have been linked to a higher risk for bladder cancer.
Thursday, 16 August 2012 05:35 PM
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