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Safety Concerns about Diabetes Drug Avandia

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Avandia is a popular type 2 diabetes drug that was first marketed in 1999. It is one of many oral medications designed to control blood sugar. Avandia lowers the amount of sugar in your blood by making your tissues more sensitive to insulin, a hormone that regulates the absorption of sugar into your cells. Although it has been on the market for more than 9 eight years, serious safety concerns about Avandia first surfaced last year, and has remained a hotly debated topic ever since.

In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published an article estimating that users of Avandia faced a 43% higher risk of a heart attack or other cardiovascular events. Last week, the consumer group Public Citizen petitioned the FDA to institute an immediate ban of the diabetes drug Avandia. The group says the drug is dangerous and can cause death from liver failure and many other life-threatening risks that greatly outweigh its benefits. In conjunction with the petition, the American Diabetes Association and a European counterpart jointly released updated treatment guidelines for doctors that pointedly recommended against using Avandia.

In addition to the increased risk of heart attack, new findings reveal that Avandia doubles the risk of heart failure and bone fractures, increases the risk of anemia and vision loss, and more importantly, induces liver failure. Public Citizen said it has identified 14 cases of liver failure associated with Avandia, 12 of which led to death. According to the director of Public Citizen’’s Health Research Group, the scientific evidence against Avandia is overwhelming, and that these findings should give the FDA the momentum it needs to act swiftly to prevent further needless deaths and health damages by banning this drug.

While the safety and effectiveness of Avandia remains to be resolved, the decision about which diabetes medication is best for you depends on many factors including your blood sugar level and the presence of any other health problems, thus it is very important that you consult your doctor for further instructions.