Can Pioglitazone Prevent Diabetes?
Oral Cancer Prevention Potential Seen As Well
Pioglitazone is a new drug that may limit the progression to diabetes in people who have high blood sugar. Sold under the brand name Actos, the drug is in the same class as the brand name Avandia (rosiglitazone) which has been taken off the market in Europe and is limited in the US. Because Pioglitazone is thought to be safere in patients, and has the potential to prevent (not just treat) diabetes, it could be prescribed to pre-diabetic patients.
As of June 2012, a study in the British Medical Journal showed that there is an increased risk of bladder cancer in patients who have taken pioglitazone for two years as a treatment for type 2 diabetes. The drug, which is in the thiazolidinedione class, is also associated with an increased risk of weight gain and congestive heart failure, which can complicate issues related to diabetes that may already be associated with obesity. In the study, 470 out of 115,000 patients developed bladder cancer after taking the drug for two years, representing nearly half a percent of patients who take the drug, or one out of 244 patients who took pioglitazone. When the drug was taken exclusively there was an 83% greater cancer risk. While this may seem dire to the layman, doctors indicate that the overall benefits of pioglitazone use still outweigh the higher bladder cancer risk.
In related news, Pioglitazone is also shown to prevent oral cancer by reducing or eliminating leukoplakia lesions that can sometimes become cancerous. These lesions, which occur on the inside of the cheek, are caused mostly by irritation and seventeen percent of them can become an invasive cancer. This effect was discovered in a study of diabetic men who took Pioglitazone and similar drugs.
Notes and Special Information
Special note: Like all drugs Pioglitazone may have side effects so consult with your doctor.