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Blood testing is the first step toward an accurate diagnosis of diabetes and effective treatment. However, new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reveals that a class of diabetes medications known as thiazolidinedione drugs (TZDs), which include pioglitazone or rosiglitzaone, may raise patients' risk of bladder cancer.
This conclusion is based on an analysis of the medical records of about 60,000 type 2 diabetics from the U.K. Results showed that when taken for at least five years, a regimen of pioglitazone or rosiglitzaone may increase the risk of bladder cancer by two to three times. The researchers estimated that for every 100,000 individuals on TZDs for five years or longer, 170 patients will develop bladder cancer.
By comparison, those rates are 30 patients, 40 patients and 60 patients per 100,000 individuals among people in the general population, diabetics and patients who take sulfonylurea for their diabetes.
"Our study shows that doctors who care for patients with diabetes should be very aware of any bladder-related symptoms patients might be having, like blood in the urine, and take steps to further evaluate those issues," said researcher Ronac Mamtani, M.D.
Pioglitazone is the ninth most commonly prescribed drug in the U.S., according to the study team.
People who find out they are diabetic with the help of blood testing should discuss all of their treatment options with their physician.
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