Actos, also known as ACTOplus met and ACTOplus met XR, is an oral anti-diabetic used to treat Type II or Non-Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus (NIDDM). Actos works by increasing the body’s sensitivity to insulin and by reducing the amount of sugar stored in the liver. Actos was approved for use by the FDA in 1999 and multiple users noted that the drug appeared effective. In 2007 Actos surpassed Avandia as the world’s best-selling diabetes medication after the drug was linked to an increased risk of heart attack. Actos and Avandia both originate from the same family of drugs, called thiazolidinediones (TZDs). Prior to FDA approval studies showed the development of bladder tumors in animals. Armed with the knowledge, the Japanese drug manufacturer Takeda touted Actos as being safe although multiple side effects and studies indicate otherwise.
Actos users have reported
- Heart attack/Myocardial infraction
- Rhabdomyolysis, a rare condition in which muscle fibers deteriorate, resulting of the release of myoglobin into the blood. Rhabdomyolysis is characterized by muscle aches, pains and weakness and can result in kidney failure. Symptoms can include muscle weakness, fever, fatigue, pain or contracture, nausea, vomiting and dark colored urine
- Kidney failure
- Heart failure
- Bladder cancer
- Liver failure
- Bone fractures
In 2002, the package label included the following warning regarding the risk of Actos side effects: “In insulin combination studies, a small number of patients with a history of previously existing cardiac disease developed congestive heart failure when treated with ACTOS in combination with insulin.” In July, 2004, the label was changed to add “Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment of Fertility” to the precautions. Countries such as Germany and France suspended all sales of the drug in 2011. The FDA is continuing to closely follow ongoing studies instead of enacting a recall on Actos.