Pioglitazone, marketed under the brand name Actos by the pharmaceutical company Takeda, is a type 2 diabetes drugs used to help control blood sugar levels. Actos has been in use since the late 1990s, and has been given to millions of patients in the United States.

However, while Actos has proven itself as an effective diabetes drug, it has also been found to cause serious, even deadly side effects in some patients. As the first major Actos case moves through the legal system, thousands of Americans are taking note and seeking their own legal remedies for harm caused by Actos.

Big jury verdict hindered on appeal, but encouraging signs remain for plaintiffs

Most medications carry some risk of side effects, and comparing the cost to the benefit of a particular drug is a process all patients should be able to go through carefully with their doctors. For years, Actos has carried a warning label informing doctors and patients that the drug could increase a patient's risk for heart failure. However, it was only in 2011 that the FDA announced that long term use of Actos could also lead to bladder cancer. Those patients who had already been taking Actos were not given the chance to make an informed decision about the risk of bladder cancer, and lawsuits against Takeda began brewing.

The first of these cases to be decided in court was Cooper v. Takeda Pharmaceuticals America Inc. In the case, the plaintiff accused Takeda of wrongfully causing his bladder cancer, and was awarded $6.5 million by a jury.

However, on appeal, Takeda convinced a judge to nullify the verdict, saying that the expert testimony used as evidence to prove Actos had caused the bladder cancer was unreliable. The plaintiff's lawyers have vowed to appeal the ruling in an attempt to get the jury verdict reinstated.

Has the recent appellate ruling chilled the progress of other Actos lawsuits? Not at all, according to top Actos litigators. On the contrary, many plaintiffs and their attorneys are encouraged by the initial jury verdict in the first Actos lawsuit, seeing the overturn on a legal issue merely as a bump in the road to an eventual wave of successful Actos lawsuits.

As of June, 2013, more than 1,300 Actos lawsuits have been filed in federal court, and many additional suits are pending in state courts throughout the nation. According to some estimates, the total number of Actos cases could eventually top 10,000.

If you or a loved one was harmed by Actos, talk to an attorney as soon as possible

If you took Actos and believe it caused you harm, or if you lost a loved one and believe the death was Actos-related, you should contact an attorney to explore your legal options. Holding Takeda responsible for harm it caused can not only help you get the monetary compensation you deserve, it can discourage companies from marketing dangerous drugs in the future without issuing proper warnings.