Avandia is a popular diabetes medication from British drug maker GlaxoSmithKline. It is designed to treat type 2 diabetes and regulate blood sugar in the body. However, the FDA halted its safety due to mounting information about the drug’s adverse side effects such as congestive heart failure and heart attacks. New studies reveal that seniors taking rosiglitazone-based medication have higher risk of deaths, heart attacks and congestive heart failure than those taking pioglitazone-based medication.
Recent meta-analyses support the claim that rosiglitazone-based drugs increases the health risks than those associated with pioglitazone-based drugs. In an experiment conducted by Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer, M.D., Sc.D., and colleagues at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, approximately 28,361 patients older than 65 years old, taking rosiglitazone-based and pioglitazone-based drugs from 2000 to 2006, were under evaluation for adverse side effects through their medical claims data.
Of the 28,361 patients participating in the experiment, 14,260 were treated with pioglitazone-based drugs while 14,101 were treated with rosiglitazone-based drugs. The figures are startling, 1,869 patients died. Dr. Winkelmayer and his colleagues came into the conclusion that taking rosiglitazone-based drugs like Avandia, have a 15% higher death rate and raise the possibility of congestive heart failure by up to 13% than patients taking pioglitazone-based drugs.
Experts believe that the drug may have caused 60,000 to 200,000 heart attacks and death due to cardiovascular problems in the US from 1999 to 2006. A black box warning was added to Avandia cautioning the public that extended use of the drug for people with history of congestive heart failure.
As of late, cases were filed against the maker of Avandia for failure to disclose the meta-analysis linking the drug to increased congestive heart failure and various cardiovascular problems. Despite the number of individual and class action lawsuits filed against them, GlaxoSmithKline maintains that the drug Avandia, is just as safe as any other diabetes drug of its kind. In their defense, the drug maker states that their product was FDA-approved and contrary to the patients’ claims, they presented the right documents supporting the effectiveness of their products minus the adverse reaction from patients.