Actos and Cardiovascular Risk - Consumer Justice Foundation

Actos and Cardiovascular Risk

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Actos use may increase risk factors for the development of cardiovascular risks like heart failure and heart disease.

Serious concerns have been raised about the safety of the diabetes drug, Actos, due to new information about potential Actos side effects, including cardiovascular risk. Actos has been available in the U.S. since 1999 as a treatment for type II diabetes in adults, and is commonly used in combination with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in patients with this disease. Actos (pioglitazone) functions by increasing the sensitivity of muscle, liver and fat cells to insulin, thereby allowing cells to remove glucose from the blood more effectively. Actos belongs to a class of drugs called thiazolidinediones, to which the diabetes drug Avandia also belongs, and is currently manufactured by drug maker Takeda Pharmaceuticals. In 2010, more than two million patients were taking drugs like Actos, metformin and glimepiride to treat their diabetes. Unfortunately, researchers have identified Actos use as a potential risk factor for the development of major side effects, including cardiovascular risks like heart failure and heart disease. If you took Actos to treat your type II diabetes, and have since suffered from a cardiovascular risk side effect, contact an Actos attorney for legal guidance.

Cardiovascular Risk Symptoms

Two cardiovascular risks potentially associated with the diabetes drug Actos are heart disease and heart failure. Heart disease is caused by blocked, stiffened or narrowed blood vessels which prevent the heart, brain and other parts of the body from receiving a sufficient amount of blood. Heart disease symptoms include shortness of breath, chest pain, and pain or weakness in the arms or legs. Heart failure is a severe condition in which the heart can no longer pump an adequate amount of blood to the rest of the body, resulting in an irregular pulse, shortness of breath, fatigue and cough.

Cardiovascular Risk Treatment and Complications

For patients with heart disease, treatment may include drug therapy, lifestyle changes or surgery to repair the damaged portions of the heart. The major goal of heart disease treatment is to open narrowed arteries, which can be achieved by living a healthy lifestyle. Patients with heart failure may benefit from a number of different treatments, including monitoring and self-care, drug therapy, or surgical procedures and devices like a pacemaker. Heart failure is considered a chronic condition, which can worsen over time with physical stress or infection. In some cases, heart failure can be effectively controlled, while other patients may suffer from life-threatening complications like pulmonary edema, total heart failure, and irregular heart rhythms.

FDA Warnings and Actos Side Effect Studies

Actos currently carries a “black box” warning notifying patients and healthcare professionals about the drug’s potential to cause or worsen congestive heart failure. The journal Lancet published a study in 2007, indicating that the risk of heart failure was significantly higher in patients taking Actos, particularly in those patients with a history of heart failure or heart disease. The FDA made an announcement earlier this year that another thiazolidinedione diabetes drug, Avandia, would be removed from the market in November 2011, due to concerns that the drug may cause significant cardiovascular side effects in patients, including heart failure and heart disease. Actos has been removed from the market in France, and officials in Germany have advised physicians to avoid using Actos in new patients, due to new Actos side effect information regarding the increased risk of bladder cancer. In the U.S., the FDA issued a safety announcement in June 2011 warning patients and physicians about the increased risk of bladder cancer in patients taking Actos for more than one year.

Legal Help for Cardiovascular Risk Side Effects

The potential connection between Actos and cardiovascular risks like heart disease and heart failure is serious, and diabetes patients have been urged by the FDA to carefully consider all possible benefits and potential risks of Actos before making any decisions to use the drug. If you or a loved one has suffered from a cardiovascular risk side effect, which you believe to be linked to Actos, contact a qualified Actos attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file an Actos lawsuit against Takeda Pharmaceuticals in order to seek financial compensation for your injuries, medical expenses, and pain and suffering. Drug companies like Takeda are responsible for the safety of their medications, and should be held liable for any side effects sustained by consumers of their products. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. By hiring an experienced Actos lawyer, victims of potential Actos side effects can feel confident that their case is in good hands.

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