Women Who Took Actos for Diabetes More Susceptible to Bone Fractures
Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Type 2 diabetes drug, Actos, has been the focus of hundreds of personal injury lawsuits for at least two years. The lawsuits were combined into one multidistrict litigation, MDL 2299, in the court of Louisiana (Lafayette) – the Honorable Rebecca Doherty presiding.
The personal injury lawsuits stipulate that Actos increases the risk of bladder cancer, and studies over the past year back up the claim. A study released this past August showed that many thiazolidinedione (TZD) drugs, including Actos, were more likely to cause bladder cancer than other drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes.
Some European countries considered Actos too dangerous to sell. In June 2011, both France and Germany pulled the drug off their shelves.
However, less well-known is the link between Actos and increased risk of bone fractures.
Women who take Actos to regulate their blood sugar have an increased risk of bone fractures. While TZD drugs regulate blood sugar, both Actos and Avandia – which can cause heart problems – promote bone loss, which can lead to fractures.
While not heavily promoted, the link between bone fractures and TZD drugs like Actos and Avandia has been known since at least the mid-2000’s. By 2007, both Avandia’s and Actos’s manufacturers issued warning letters to doctors about the fracture risk. Fractures happen mostly in the lower arm and leg areas, as well as hips. Risk increased after taking Actos for one year or longer.
In their letter to doctors, Takeda Pharmaceuticals admitted that their initial studies of Actos did not test for bone loss. The fracture information had been collected from complaints over the years, but Takeda’s researchers did not yet know the exact cause.
Studies Show Actos Is Linked to Increased Risk of Bone Fractures
In 2008, a group of Swiss researchers released their findings after analyzing 12 years of data from UK diabetes patients. According to their study, patients who took TZD drugs like Avandia and Actos to regulate their Type 2 diabetes had two to three times the risk of developing bone fractures, compared to patients who took other diabetes medications.
A second study, conducted by the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit, found that women who took Actos or Avandia for their Type 2 diabetes had a 57% increased risk of developing bone fractures, compared to women who did not take Actos.
A Canadian study showed that, for every 20 female patients in their 70’s who took the drug for at least one year, one had an increased chance of bone fracture. Women in their 50’s showed a 1-in-55 chance of bone fracture if they took Actos. Researchers on the study said that was more than double the normal risk for those age groups.
Some researchers think the cause of the fractures comes from a receptor activated by Actos. A receptor called PPAR-gamma, produced in fat cells, is activated by TZD drugs. By activating PPAR-gamma, cells become more receptive to insulin; however, this can also slow the formation of new bone structures, and even speed bone breakdown.
A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, University of Michigan researchers identified 786 cases of bone fractures in Type 2 diabetes patients, and compared them to 2,600 diabetes patients who did not suffer from fractures. They found that 71% of women prescribed Actos to treat their diabetes suffered bone fractures.
A recent Scottish study examined data from a nationwide database of drug prescriptions, hospital admissions, and deaths of Type 2 diabetes patients from between 1999 and 2008. Of the 37,000 individual records studied, 176 had hip fractures. Of those who took Actos and Avandia in the study, each year the patient took the drug, the risk of bone fracture increased by 18%.
Because of these studies, researchers insist on stronger warning labels for TZD drugs. After the studies linking Actos to increased risk of bladder cancer, the Type 2 diabetes drug already has one of the strongest warning labels the FDA can issue.
The Strom Law Firm Can Help With Actos Injury Cases
If you or a loved one have taken Actos or Avandia to treat Type 2 diabetes, and have since suffered dangerous and painful side effects such as liver failure, heart disease, bladder cancer, and now bone fractures, the attorneys at the Strom Law Firm can help. We offer free consultations to discuss the facts of your case. Do not hesitate to contact us today. 803.252.4800.