European regulators have called for the controversial diabetes drug Avandia to be taken off the market. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said that the benefits of Avandia for diabetics no longer outweigh the risks involved and that it should be suspended.
The drug is commonly used by people suffering from type 2 diabetes to regulate the level of blood sugar in their body. It remains popular, with over 100,000 patients in the UK still taking it, despite warnings about risks of heart failure when the drug was originally licensed and its increasing associations with heart problems . Avandia, whose generic name is rosiglitazone, is also used in conjunction with other drugs under the names Avandamet and Avaglim.
A spokesperson for EMA commented “Patients who are currently taking these medicines should make an appointment with their doctor to discuss suitable alternative treatments. Patients are advised not to stop their treatment without speaking to their doctor.”
Although in the US, regulators are only recommending greater restrictions on its use, the decision by the EMA to call for its suspension will lead to further investigation of Avandia by the European Commission before a final ruling is given.
Dr Ellen Strahlma, chief medical officer at GlaxoSmithKline, who manufacture Avandia, said “Our primary concern continues to be patients with type 2 diabetes and we are making every effort to ensure that physicians in Europe and the US have all the information they need to help them understand how these regulatory decisions affect them and their patients.”

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