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Study Compares Risk With Two Diabetes Drugs
Date:8/24/2010

217 patients taking rosiglitazone and 217 taking pioglitazone.

The study included 36,628 patients who had submitted insurance claims to WellPoint affiliates for either of the two diabetes medications between 2001 and 2005. Patients' average age was 54, and 58 percent were male. Wertz and her team obtained death records from the National Death Index, a central database administered by the National Center for Health Statistics.

The investigators divided patients into two equal groups, one receiving rosiglitazone and the other, pioglitazone. After adjusting the data for (removing/minimizing the effect of) age, gender, prior heart and blood vessel diseases and diabetes-related complications and severity indicators, they compared the incidence of heart attack, heart failure and death for an average 14 months of treatment and 19 months of post-treatment follow-up.

Diabetes is a disease in which the body cannot adequately produce the hormone insulin or uses it improperly. The disease can cause a potentially dangerous buildup of sugar in the blood and also increases the risk of heart and blood vessel diseases, which are the main causes of death for people with diabetes.

Rosiglitazone, sold under the trade name Avandia by GlaxoSmithKline, and pioglitazone, sold as Actos by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, belong to the same class of drugs, called TZDs or thiazolidinediones. They help the body use insulin more effectively by boosting the body's sensitivity to the hormone and thus help control blood sugar.

This study has results different from earlier ones that found a greater risk of heart attack among rosiglitazone users compared to patients on other treatments or placebo. In 2007, the Food and Drug Administration decided that the benefits of rosiglitazone outweighed the risks, and it remained on the market although its use decreased significantly. In July 2010, an FDA advisory committee again reviewed numerous studies, including this s
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SOURCE American Heart Association
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