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November 26, 2007 at 8:12 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

Diabetes Drug Avandia Indicated in Thousands of Heart Failure Cases

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Approximately 6 million Americans take Avandia for their diabetes, and as many as 1 in 50 of them will be hospitalized for heart failure. Avandia, approved by the FDA in 1999, indeed works to control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes patients.Once thought to be safer than other diabetes medications, public concern has risen that Avandia has a darker - or even fatal - side.

Trading Bad for Worse

In 2000, Rezulin, a drug similar to Avandia, was recalled because it caused liver failure and was responsible for the deaths of about 100 people.Avandia became the popular alternative, but suspicions grew about its effects on the liver.

Since then, Avandia has been linked to chronic heart disease, particularly when taken in combination with insulin.Although the drug has the "benefit" of allowing the patient to discontinue insulin therapy. However, many patients still need to use insulin at least temporarily, and the consequences can be fatal. Avandia induces a fluid overload (responsible in the case of pulmonary edema) that patients with poor kidney or heart function may not be able to tolerate.

Thousands of Cases of Heart Failure

Recent studies report heart failure or pulmonary edema in six men who were taking Avandia.The patients already had moderate heart problems that researchers believe were exacerbated by the drug.Once the drug treatment stopped, all six patients recovered.

Studies investigating the risk of Avandia are still ongoing, gathering results to determine if its usage for the treatment of type II diabetes is appropriate. One study found that Avandia significantly increases the risk of myocardial infarction and heart failure.

Still another study concluded that Avandia not only significantly increases the risk of myocardial infarction, it was also associated with a risk of death of cardiovascular causes.

The drug is also proving to develop heart failure even in patients who do not have a history of cardiovascular disease.A recent study found that in over 200 cases of reported heart failure associated with Avandia, even low doses of the drug were shown to develop heart failure.

These figures are alarming to diabetes patients, their families, and the medical health community alike.With about 6 million people taking Avandia, researchers are concerned that thousands upon thousands of heart failure cases will soon be reported.

No More Dollars for Death

As of August 2007, after grueling lawsuits, Avandia is required to include the "black box" labeling on its package, which warns that the drug may cause or worsen heart failure.

The world is growing more and more suspicious toward prescription drugs like Avandia and the companies behind them. After all, this harmful drug was on the market for 8 years before the black box label was required. Many feel that it should be pulled from the market entirely. Until then, we will just have to make the choice for ourselves to not buy these harmful drugs. 

Sources:

http://jama.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/short/298/10/1189

http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa072761

http://www.abc.net.au/news/newsitems/200309/s942702.htm

http://www.onlinelawyersource.com/avandia/litigation.html

http://www.eontarionow.com/health/2007/07/27/diabetes-drug-may-have-caused-thousands-of-cases-of-heart-failure/

Photo Credit:

www.nj.com

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