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Anti-diabetes drug linked to heart problems

A new study into patients who have been taking the anti-diabetes drug Avandia has found that they are at a greater threat of cardiovascular problems, such as strokes and heart attacks, than those who take other drugs to combat their diabetes .
Avandia, which is also known as rosiglitazone, was approved in 1999 as a way of treating high blood glucose levels for patients with type 2 diabetes. However, this research, undertaken by the US Food and Drug Administratio, is the most recent to highlight concerns about the medication. It revealed that the drug was associated with a 28 per cent to 39 per cent higher risk of myocardial infarction.
Another study, by scientists at The Cleveland Clinic Foundatio, and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, found that there were no unique benefits from rosiglitazone, arguing that its use just to lower blood glucose levels was difficult to justify.
Concerns have been growing about the drug for a number of years, with its manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, forced to add a warning to its label. The FDA is expected to hold an advisory committee meeting next month to discuss whether it should be removed from the market.
With about 300 million people around the world suffering from diabetes, the researchers are worried about the public health implications. They pointed out that “Although hyperglycemia has been associated with an increased risk of microvascular adverse events, there are now 12 classes of drugs that are approved to lower blood glucose levels, including insulin .”

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