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Last updated on April 19, 2014 at 9:20 EDT

Canada Looks Into Cancer Causing Insulin

July 10, 2009

The Canadian Health Ministry recently announced a review on whether the diabetes drug Lantus actually increases cancer risks.

“Health Canada is informing Canadians of an ongoing safety review of the potential association between the diabetes drug Lantus (insulin glargine) and an increased risk of developing cancer,” the ministry said in a statement.

The US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency have already launched similar reviews after four studies examining the relationship between the drug and cancer incidence were published. 

Three of those four studies reported that the insulin was associated with a slightly higher risk of cancer.  The insulin is used to control blood sugar in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

“In all studies, the number of patients who developed cancer was small,” the Canadian Health Ministry noted.

Lantus, which is one of the most widely sold drugs around the world, is a long-acting synthetic insulin that has been marketed in Canada by French drugmaker Sanofi-Aventis since February 2005.

The ministry cautioned people using Lantus to keep using it because of the dangers of uncontrolled blood sugar.

“Patients should contact their healthcare professional if they have any concerns about the medicines they are taking,” it said.

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