The plaintiff in Case No. 6:12-cv-1704 relied upon Actos to treat his diabetes from 2006 through 2011. In his Actos bladder cancer lawsuit, which is included in the Actos multidistrict litigation MDL No. 6:11-md-2299, the plaintiff alleges the defendant, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, possessed knowledge that long-term use of Actos could expose patients to an increased risk for bladder cancer, but failed to adequately notify consumers as to the risk.
It should be noted that various reports put Actos sales at $4.8 billion for 2011.
Seeing Actos and bladder cancer in the headlines appears to be an increasing phenomenon, although it wasn't always so. In fact, the Takeda drug was under the radar until competitor Avandia started grabbing headlines over reports of heart problems. Doctors switched their patients away from Avandia to Actos for management of Type 2 diabetes, and suddenly Actos was hot.
That heat has since cooled amidst reports of bladder cancer, but other Actos side effects including Actos heart failure (thought not to be as serious as that associated with Avandia) and Actos macular edema.
The latter is characterized by a build-up of fluid behind the eyes stemming from the leakage of fluid into the center of the macula, which contributes to sharpness of vision when peering straight on. Fluid build-up results in blurred vision, or macular edema.
Researchers conducting a study into Actos and edema (Avandia was also studied) noted that up to 20 percent of patients suffering from diabetes present with symptoms of macular edema. However, after studying data from more than 100,000 Type 2 diabetes patients from the database of the British Health Improvement Network, researchers found that 1.3 percent of patients taking thiazolidinediones, a class of drugs to which Actos belongs, developed macular edema compared with 0.2 percent of those not taking thiazolidinediones.
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Beyond Actos edema, remains the alleged association between Actos and bladder cancer. Among the various reports damning Actos for its association with the onset of bladder cancer is a 10-year study (ongoing) undertaken by Kaiser Permanente, which found patients taking Actos for one year were 40 percent more likely to develop Actos bladder cancer compared with those who had never taken Actos. The Kaiser agency also noted the risk for bladder cancer increased with duration and dosage.
The plaintiff in the Actos lawsuit noted above had taken Actos for about five years.