The diabetes drug Avandia has taken a lot of heat in recent years because it has been linked to a higher risk of heart attacks. The FDA has just decided that the drug will be severely restricted only to patients who don’t respond well to other diabetes drugs.
Its chief competitor, Actos, has filled the void and captured much of the diabetes drug market share even though it too has a strict warning about causing or exacerbating heart failure. Now, the FDA has added another concern to the Actos prescribing dilemma. Data half way through a ten-year trial suggests that people taking Actos for long periods of time may have a higher risk of bladder cancer. The FDA is not ready to say that Actos actually causes cancer, but it will continue to monitor the data from the long-term study. The agency promises to update the public when it has additional information.