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Diabetes drug may be linked to higher risk of bladder cancer


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The federal Food and Drug Administration periodically publishes warnings when it finds that empirical studies have suggested potential harmful effects from the use of medications. They also require the manufacturers of these pharmaceuticals to update their labels to reflect the information the administration has gleaned from these scientific studies. Drug companies generally must adhere to these labelling standards in order to allow doctors to make good decisions in how to prescribe medications as well as letting consumers know what the risks are in taking any individual drug.

Recently, the FDA released a statement regarding a type-II diabetes drug called pioglitazone. This medication is used to help patients control their blood sugar levels by making their bodies more sensitive to the hormone insulin, which the human body makes to control the level of sugar in the blood. Pioglitazone is found in an array of prescription medications, including Actos, Duetact and Oseni.

Unfortunately, the studies reviewed by the FDA suggest that the drug might be linked to higher incidents of bladder cancer in certain patients. While the administration had warned about this possibility before, and required labels to reflect it, the new studies made the FDA direct companies manufacturing pioglitazone to update their label warnings to show the new information. Further, the FDA asks patients taking the drug to contact their health care providers immediately if they experience potential bladder cancer symptoms such as pain during urination, a new or more forceful need to urinate, or blood in their urine.

It is the responsibility of drug companies to ensure that their products are as safe as practicable for consumers, and to enable doctors and patients to balance the risks and rewards of taking any given medication. Those who have experienced unexpected harmful side-effects from taking drugs, prescription or otherwise, may wish to seek the help of an experienced products liability attorney to determine if there was a defect in the drug itself or in the warnings provided that might lead to compensation for the injury that occurred.

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