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Diabetes Drug Avandia Ups Heart Risk, Reviews Conclude
Date:6/29/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, June 28 (HealthDay News) -- According to data pooled from several large clinical trials, the diabetes drug Avandia does raise the odds of having a heart attack, bolstering the argument that the drug's risks might outweigh its benefits in people with type 2 diabetes.

Avandia did not, however, show an increased risk for death from cardiovascular disease, said the authors of a meta-analysis appearing in the June 28 online issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

A second study, this one appearing in a companion publication, the June 28 online issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), found that, in patients over the age of 65, taking rosiglitazone (Avandia) carried a higher risk for stroke, heart failure and all-cause death when compared to a similar medication known as pioglitazone (Actos).

Both papers are being published online in advance of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel that is set to convene in July to recommend the fate of this best-selling medication.

Whether or not these new results will sway the committee remains to be seen.

"I think it's pretty compelling scientifically to have both of these studies in advance of the FDA advisory panel meeting, but advisory panels have been very reluctant to take drugs off the market," said Dr. Steve Nissen, lead author of the Archives analysis and chair of the department of cardiovascular medicine at The Cleveland Clinic. "And it's very hard for clinicians who are used to using drugs to say they've been doing the wrong thing. Clinical inertia is a very big problem in medicine."

According to background information in the study, Nissen has received payments from various pharmaceutical companies but has contributed all the monies to charity.

Dr. Kirk Garratt, clinical director of interventional cardiovascular research at Lenox Hill Hos
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