During the summer of 2011, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a Drug Safety Communication Update for Actos. The FDA reported that patients using Actos for a year or longer have a substantially increased risk of bladder cancer. For those who have used Actos in the past or currently use Actos, this alert should encourage you to take action in order to protect your health.
First, schedule a visit with your doctor. If you are a current Actos user, ask if you can switch to another diabetes-control medication. You should also ask your doctor about the 2011 warning label update and all of the risks associated with the medication.
Second, be on the look out for common bladder cancer systems. Such symptoms include blood in the urine, changes in the color of your urine, pain during urination and changes in your urination habits. Your doctor should also be made aware of any symptoms.
Third, consider seeing a specialist – an urologist can screen you for bladder cancer. Screening may include a CT Scan or the collection of a urine sample. Two pain free tests that can put your mind at ease. If these tests are inconclusive, an urologist can perform a cystoscopy. During a cystoscopy, your doctor inserts a narrow tube (known as a cystoscope) through your urethra. The cystoscope has a lens and lighting system that allows your doctor to see the inside of your urethra and bladder. The test is not painful and your doctor can even provide a local anesthetic to ensure your comfort.
Fourth, schedule a follow up test in six months or one year, or whatever period is recommended by your doctor, to make sure that precancerous cells do not develop after your initial test. Early cancer detection may literally be a life saver.
These steps can determine whether you have bladder cancer or at risk of bladder cancer due to your Actos use.