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Avandia Label to Get Heart-Attack Warning
Date:11/14/2007

FDA takes action on diabetes drug although evidence is inconclusive

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 14 (HealthDay News) -- The popular diabetes drug Avandia -- which has been linked to the risk of heart failure and, more recently, heart attack -- will carry a revised "black box" warning noting the heart attack risk, even though the research on heart attack is inconclusive, U.S. officials said Wednesday.

GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia (rosiglitazone), a drug used to treat type 2 diabetes, has agreed to add the new warning to the existing black box warning on the drug's label, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials.

"We are announcing an update to the existing box warning on Avandia," Dr. Janet Woodcock, acting director of the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, said during a midday teleconference. "A black box is the strongest form of warning, and we are adding another warning to that black box."

Despite the revised warning label, the FDA said it isn't seeking to have the drug withdrawn from the market, because the evidence for the increased heart-attack risk is not conclusive.

"We are keeping Avandia on the market, because we have concluded there isn't enough evidence to indicate that the risk of heart attack is higher for Avandia than other type 2 diabetes treatments," Woodcock said.

Woodcock said the FDA has asked GlaxoSmithKline to conduct a long-term study comparing Avandia with other type 2 diabetes drugs. The trial will most likely start in a year, and full results won't be available until 2014.

The new labeling follows recommendations made by the FDA's Endocrine and Metabolic Advisory Committee and Drug Safety and Risk Management Advisory Committee. In July, the committees recommended keeping Avandia on the market, pending a review of additional data. The committees also said the drug's label should carry a warning of the potential for increased risk of heart
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