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Actos, like the popular drug Avandia, is prescribed for adults with Type-2 diabetes and works to maintain proper levels of sugar. Actos prevents the liver from producing more sugar than is necessary and allows more efficient use of the insulin that is produced by the body.

Complaints of cardiovascular problems, fragile bones and serious eyesight conditions have been surfacing for years by Actos users. A 2007 study which compared the health risks of people taking Actos with the popular drug Avandia concluded that the side effects associated with Avandia (primarily heart failure, cardiovascular disease and stroke) did not appear to be a concern with Actos. In fact, Actos has often been prescribed as an alternative to Avandia.

However, in June 2011, evidence emerged from the FDA’s own safety review and a study conducted in France supporting a link between Actos and bladder cancer. This prompted the FDA to release a safety warning informing the public that use of Actos for more than one year “may be associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer.” This warning resulted in the manufacturer, Takeda Pharmaceuticals, revising its warning label to add an increased risk of bladder cancer to the list of side effects associated with Actos. The new label also now advises doctors to refrain from prescribing the drug to patients with bladder cancer and cautions the use of Actos on patients with a history of bladder cancer. In France and Germany, the evidence of a link between the drug and bladder cancer prompted a recall and a ban in both countries.

If you are taking Actos, you should be aware of the following symptoms of bladder cancer: blood in the urine; frequent urge to urinate a small amount of urine; pain and burning when urinating; pain in the lower back; pain in the bones; and blood in mucus when coughing.