Common Diabetes Drug Raises Risk Of Developing Cancer

 The anti-diabetic drug pioglitazone raises the risk of bladder cancer by 63 per cent, researchers found

A diabetic woman takes skin-prick test to check her blood sugar levels
The anti-diabetic drug pioglitazone raises the risk of bladder cancer by 63 per cent, researchers found Photo: Bill Cheyrou/ Alamy
A common diabetes drug raises the risk of developing bladder cancer, a study of British patients has found.
The anti-diabetic drug pioglitazone helps to control blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes.
But new research, published in The BMJ, has found that taking the drug is linked to a 63 per cent increased risk of bladder cancer.
Figures from the Health and Social Care Information Centre show 1.18 million prescriptions for pioglitazone hydrochloride were dispensed in England in 2014.
“The results of this large population based study indicate that pioglitazone is associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer,” said said lead author Dr Laurent Azoulay, Centre for Clinical Epidemiology, Lady Davis Institute, Jewish General Hospital, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
Researchers wanted to assess the drug after a number of bladder cancer cases were identified among people taking the drug in a trial in 2005. Since then different studies have reported contradictory findings on the subject.
They set out to compare pioglitazone to other anti-diabetic drugs.
Experts identified 145,806 patients from the UK Clinical Practice Research Database newly treated with anti-diabetic drugs between January 2000 - when pioglitazone and another medicine from the same class of drug called rosiglitazone first entered the UK market - and July 2013, with follow-up until July 2014.
Overall, 622 of these patients received a diagnosis of bladder cancer during the follow-up period.

Those with diabetes are at high risk of developing the disease, which can lead to complications such as heart disease, stroke and amputations

Anti-diabetes drugs help control blood sugar but diabetics must still inject insulin  Photo: Alamy
The team of Canadian-based researchers found that compared to other anti-diabetic drugs, pioglitazone was associated with an increased risk of bladder cancer. The risk heightened with increasing duration of use and dose, they found.
No increased risk was found for rosiglitazone - the drug was withdrawn from use in 2010 due to an increased risk of cardiovascular disorders, including heart attack and heart failure.
Type 2 diabetes affects 3.3 million people in England and Wales and there is currently no cure. It can lead to blindness, stroke, kidney failure and limb amputation.
Around 10,000 people are diagnosed with bladder cancer each year and more than 5,000 die from the disease.
The researchers said that patients should be informed of the risk so that they could choose whether to remain on the drug.
In an accompanying editorial, Victor Montori, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic in the US suggested that working closely with their clinicians, “patients can identify the agent that is best for them given their context, both clinical and personal.”
A separate study by Nottingham University, also reported in the BM, found that risk of kidney disease and blindness was raised depending on which combination of anti-diabetes drugs a patient took. Taking metformin alone significantly lowered the risk of severe kidney disease, but it raised the chance of going blind by nearly 50 per cent, the researchers found.
The scientists say the results may have implications for prescribing, and suggest doctors and patients should be aware when assessing the overall risks and benefits of diabetes drugs.

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Common Diabetes Drug Raises Risk Of Developing Cancer Common Diabetes Drug Raises Risk Of Developing Cancer Reviewed by Ayub Asad on 22:20 Rating: 5

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