New Information on Diabetes Drug

By: Jessica Aspiras Email
By: Jessica Aspiras Email

Avandia is frequently prescribed to treat type two diabetes. Just ask nephrologist Dr. Michael Hourani. He estimates 70-percent of his patients are either on Avandia or two of the other drugs that contain it -- Avandamet & Avandaryl.

"If the patient is on it alone and has coronary artery disease or a recent heart attack or severe congestive heart failure, those patients probably should stop."

Recent findings by the New England Journal of Medicine conclude those on the drug may have a 43 percent higher risk of heart attack. It's startling news for diabetics who already have an increased chance of heart problems.

"In a small dosage it's very safe. If people who are on it and have no fluid retention it's very safe. I would not discontinue at this time because the benefits outweighs the risk."

Avandia was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1999. Just last year the FDA updated the product warnings to include the potential for increased risk of heart attacks.

"We all were aware of the risks. We all watch this very clearly when we put somebody on Avandia."

A statement released by manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline reads, "We have consistently shared our data on AVANDIA with the FDA and other regulatory agencies and continue to work closely with these agencies to update the AVANDIA label as appropriate so that physicians can make treatment decisions in the best interest of their patients."

For now, Dr. Hourani is keeping his patients on or off Avandia on a case by case basis.

"As a physician our job is to do no harm."


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