Actos is the brand name for a chemical called pioglitazone, and was designed to treat type 2 diabetes. Actos is manufactured and sold by Takeda Pharmaceuticals North America, Inc., a subsidy of the Japanese company Takeda Limited.
The drug has been prescribed all over the world since 1999, when it was first approved by the FDA. In 2010 alone, two million prescriptions were written for patients with type 2 diabetes. However, studies have linked this drug to a serious risk: bladder cancer.
In June 2011, a French study indicated that long-term use of Actos could increase the risk for developing bladder cancer by 40 percent. Immediately after the study’s release, the FDA issued its own safety alert concerning bladder cancer risks. Not long afterward, Health Canada issued its own warning against Actos, while France and Germany banned the drug altogether. Then, the evidence against Actos continued to build. In May 2012, the British Medical Journal published research showing that extended use carried an 83% increased risk of bladder cancer.