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Avandia May Cause Risk of Heart Attack and Death

By May 21, 2007

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The commonly prescribed diabetes drug, Avandia (rosiglitazone), has come under the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) this week, as a result of a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine today.

According to the study, Avandia (rosiglitazone) may lead to heart attacks and even death from cardiovascular causes. The study comes from the Cleveland Clinic and was actually a compilation of data from 42 different rosiglitazone studies that have already taken place. Rosiglitazone is an oral medication used to treat type 2 diabetes. It is in the thiazolidinedione class of drugs which lowers blood glucose levels by increasing insulin sensitivity in the body.

The conclusion reached in the Cleveland Clinic study was that rosiglitazone increased the risk of heart attack and other fatal cardiovascular events. Researchers recommend that people who take Avandia for type 2 diabetes should discuss the risks of treatment with their doctors and that doctors should seriously weigh the cardiovascular risks of treatment with rosiglitazone before prescribing it. There are many other classes of oral medications that control diabetes well that are not known to cause cardiac problems.

One of the concerns addressed in the study was that people with type 2 diabetes already have cardiac problems as a result of complications from their diabetes. If they are also on Avandia, their risk might be higher for fatal cardiac events.

The press release from the FDA states:

FDA's analyses of all available data are ongoing. FDA has not confirmed the clinical significance of the reported increased risk in the context of other studies. Pending questions include whether the other approved treatment from the same class of drugs, pioglitazone, has less, the same or greater risks. Furthermore, there is inherent risk associated with switching patients with diabetes from one treatment to another even in the absence of specific risks associated with particular treatments. For these reasons, FDA is not asking GlaxoSmithKline, the drug's sponsor, to take any specific action at this time. FDA is providing this emerging information to prescribers so that they, and their patients, can make individualized treatment decisions.

More from Richard N. Fogoros, M.D., About.com's Guide to Heart Disease...

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May 27, 2007 at 1:36 pm
(1) Trudy R Blair says:

You now, I think many of these so called problems with these drugs are because people are in such bad shape in the first place; not to mention the facts that people are such liars. I know, personally, of a person who eats like there is no tomorrow and lies about it to her doctors. I have taken celebrex for years, only when I needed it, only for a week or so at a time, and have done very well with it. I know people, however, who wil take three or four at a time! I say that anyone who is on medicaid or medicare and does not follow th doctor’s orders should be banned from coverage until that person proves he is folowing doctor’s advice. I am sick to death of waiting rooms full of people with chronic illnesses caused by smoking, obesity, and refusal to use common sense.

December 18, 2009 at 12:20 pm
(2) Rebecca says:

Trudy needs to get a life! Everyone is entitled to medical coverage. My husband was perfectly healthy, went for routine physicals. Never somked, never drank, never did drugs. In April 2008 my husband was diagnosed with diabetes and was put on Avandia. On October 20th he had a heart attack. My husband is still alive thanks to the ER Dr taking him off the Avandia right away. And guess what Trudy? My husband was on Medicare and Medicaid. He is 41 and disabled because he was run over by n old man that should never have been driving. But that’s another subject. So Trudy, Get a freakin life!!!

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