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The Weight Behind Consumers Reports Warning Against Actos

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Yonkers, NYThere has been various writings, and warnings against Actos and specifically, Actos bladder cancer. One such warning was released this past August when Consumer Reports, published by Consumers Union since 1936, went on record as suggesting Actos should only be used as a last line of defense against Type 2 diabetes due to serious side effects.

Caution against Actos is nothing new: various health advocates have been sounding the alarm bells over Actos and bladder cancer for the past few years. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) itself issued a warning of the potential for bladder cancer, and mandated that such cancer risk should be added to the product label.

So what's so different about the Consumers Reports point of view?

Put simply, the publication answers to no one but its readers. The organization, which is known more for telling its readers which are the best cars and appliances to buy than what drugs to take (or not), has been so successful at winning the trust and support of its readers that it accepts no advertising of any kind.

Unlike other organizations and spokespersons who endorse a product without disclosing financial ties to the very product they are endorsing, Consumer Reports is beholden to no one. Test products are purchased, not provided. And unlike even the FDA, which health advocates widely criticize as maintaining a funding model partly underwritten by the very industry it is charged to oversee, there is no possibility for manipulation of a viewpoint based on lobbying, outside pressure, favoritism or bias.

If Consumers Reports says it is worried about Actos to the point where it should be used only as a last resort, one can believe the opinion is their own and based on unbiased research and data collection.

In its Consumer News report, the advocacy organization noted the approval by the FDA of generic versions of Actos. In August, Consumers Reports frowned on the generic equivalents of Actos, but didn't stop there. "We say skip Actos as both a generic and brand name medication, unless other options have not worked," Consumers Reports (8/21/12) said. "Pioglitazone (Actos) can cause serious side effects, such as an increased risk of [Actos heart failure], bone fractures, and [Actos bladder cancer]. Other medications to treat diabetes, such as metformin, are a better first choice."

Many an Actos lawsuit has been filed based on serious side effects that were allegedly not communicated to patients until after they had started actively using Actos. Not to be ignored is the debacle over Avandia, another Type 2 diabetes drug which was perceived, several years ago, to carry a greater risk for heart attack than Actos. At the time, doctors switched their Type 2 diabetes patients to Actos in droves, believing pioglitazone to be a safer alternative—primarily over concerns with the heart.

There was little, if anything articulated over a risk for bladder cancer until fairly recently. That revelation has blindsided numerous patients, many of whom have filed an Actos bladder cancer lawsuit.

Pioglitazone can also trigger Actos edema, a vision problem affecting the eyes.

Bottom line, says Consumer Reports: "Our medical advisers say that people with diabetes should use pioglitazone, generic or brand-name Actos, only as a last resort. If you're on the drug, ask your doctor if it's absolutely necessary and if you should switch to another drug. Our Consumer Reports Best Buy Drug recommendation is the drug metformin, either alone or with glipizide or glimepiride, for most people with type 2 diabetes, combined with a healthy diet, regular exercise, and losing excess weight."

Rest assured that opinion regarding the potential for Actos side effects is their own, and not that of lobbyists or benefactors—or anyone who could benefit by exerting influence on an organization that speaks to millions of Americans each month, and with a level of trust that knows no bounds.

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