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Diabetics Urged to Confer With Their Doctor About Avandia Use
Date:7/16/2010

By Amanda Gardner
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, July 15 (HealthDay News) -- One day after a U.S. advisory panel recommended that the controversial diabetes drug Avandia stay on the market -- albeit with added restrictions -- several medical organizations are urging patients not to change their medications before consulting a health-care professional.

Some experts expect the use of Avandia to drop off markedly, however.

"Why give a drug with restrictions when a similar drug which has studies that did not show the bad outcomes of Avandia could be used instead," said Dr. Jacob Warman, chief of endocrinology at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. "I don't see anybody willing to take Avandia when they could take Actos."

Actos (pioglitazone) is a drug similar to Avandia, one of the same class of medications known as thiazolidinediones (TZDs).

On Wednesday, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel voted that the blood sugar-lowering drug did raise the risk of heart attacks relative to other medications of its kind, though not the risk of death.

The 33-member panel ultimately voted that Avandia should stay on the market but with tightened controls.

Twelve members voted for removing the drug, 17 voted for new warning label revisions or restrictions on its use, and three voted that no changes were needed.

The FDA is not obligated to follow the advice of its advisory committees but usually does.

The safety of Avandia has been in question for years, rising to a point in 2007 when the FDA added a "black box" warning to the drug's packaging that noted the potential risk of increased cardiovascular events.

Both Avandia and Actos already had warnings regarding heart failure.

In a joint statement released Wednesday after the vote, the Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists urged patients no
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