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Advice from American Heart Assn. for diabetics taking Avandia

June 29, 2010 | 10:43 am

Avandia heart attack risks stroke rosiglitazone If diabetics who take Avandia aren't confused by now, well, they haven't been keeping up with medical news.

On Monday, three studies were released about the side effects linked to Avandia (also known by its generic name, rosiglitazone), two of which found a worrisome rate of side effects and one that found no new safety concerns. The fate of the drug, which was approved in 1999, will be at stake in July when a Food and Drug Administration advisory committee meets to review the evidence on Avandia's safety. The drug is known to increase the risk of heart failure and bone fractures. But newer data suggest it also raises the risk of heart attacks, strokes and death.

The American Heart Assn. weighed in Tuesday with some advice for people taking Avandia.

" ...the reports deserves serious consideration, and patients with diabetes who are 65 years of age or older and being treated with rosiglitazone should discuss the findings with their prescribing physician. . .

"For patients with diabetes, the most serious consequences are heart disease and stroke, and the risk of suffering from them is significantly increased when diabetes is present. As in most situations, patients should not change or stop medications without consulting their healthcare provider."

The statement goes on to list the association's recommendations, including that the drug metformin should generally be considered the first choice for glucose-lowering drugs. There's also advice on what to do if you're already on Avandia.

-- Shari Roan

Photo: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

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