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Avandia heart risks supported

Kathleen Blanchard's picture
Rostigatazone heart dangers supported

Ongoing evidence found that diabetes drug causes major heart problems

A new study adds evidence to previous findings that the type 2 diabetes drug rosiglitazone, marketed as Avandia, raises the odds of having a major heart problem. Researchers found there are 3.8 million prescriptions written annually in the United States for the diabetes drug that they say could have a significant impact on public health.

Rostigitazone raises chances of heart failure, heart attack and death

The study authors write, "Our findings have important implications, Rosiglitazone is still available on a restricted basis in the United States and Canada. However, for patients who need thiazolidinedione treatment, continued use of rosiglitazone may lead to excess heart attacks, heart failure and mortality, compared with pioglitazone."

In the newest study, rostigatazone was compared to the type 2 diabetes drug pioglitazone or Actos. Rostigatzaone was associated with a 16% percent increased risk of heart attack, 23% higher chance of congestive heart failure and raised the chances of dying 14%.

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Avandia and Actos are both used from type 2 diabetes treatment and are part of a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones.

The study clarifies the risks of the type 2 diabetes drug rostigatazone or Avandia are higher than pioglitazone or Actos. The researchers suggest the findings are important for patient safety.

In an editorial that accompanies the study, published in BMJ, Victor Montori and Nilay Shah from the Mayo Clinic in the US argue that the rosiglitazone story "says much about how healthcare has become less about promoting patients' interests, alleviating illness, promoting function and independence, and curing disease, and much more about promoting other interests, including those of the drug industry."

Patients with type 2 diabetes who continue taking rostigatazone are at higher risk for major heart complications, supported by the new study. The researchers say it is important for regulators, prescribers, and patients to engage in active discussion when making decisions about taking Avandia versus safer type 2 diabetes medication.

BMJ: http://www.bmj.com/cgi/doi/10.1136/bmj.d1309
"Comparative cardiovascular effects of thiazolidinediones: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies"
Yoon Kong Loke, senior lecturer in clinical pharmacology1, Chun Shing Kwok, medical student1, Sonal Singh, assistant professor of medicine