Your Sugar or Your Heart?

Those familiar with the ongoing debate whether to ban a popular anti-diabetes drug for potentially dangerous side-effects are mostly wondering why its taking the authorities so long to put a ban on it.

Glaxo’s Avandia, also known as roziglitazone, has been blamed by research studies as far back as 2007 to cause heart problems when taken by diabetic patients, but attempts to ban it have been painfully slow. While the FDA acknowledged that the drug led to a higher incidence of heart attacks since 2007,  its advisory panel in July this year stopped short of banning it with a split decision.

Avandia ban - decision to be made by EU September

Health advocates have mounted a strong campaign against Avandia, saying its risks outweigh its benefit. Even a conspiracy theory has emerged – the New York Times this week published documents that it said showed SmithKlineBeecham – the firm’s name in 1999 – buried a disastrous study that suggested Avandia posed greater heart risks than a competing drug. Has Big Pharma managed to buy out the regulators?

Across the Atlantic, the story is clearer – the UK watchdog authority has called today for the withdrawal of this drug across Europe.(here).

And the irony of it all..while we have a diabetic drug that can cause heart attacks, we also have a heart  drug (Crestor) that can cause diabetes!

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3 responses

  1. Doc. I take Crestor to lower cholestrol (of course you know that). But what is the risk of diabetes with Crestor?

    I am 39, 73 kg, 5’6″, male. No history of parents being diabetic.

    Doctor2008 replies: We are in unconfirmed ground here. The only clinical trial done (http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/full/NEJMoa0807646) showed an increased incidence of diabetes in those taking Crestor. While the authors said it was not significant, I disagree as 54 patients developed diabetes. We need further studies on it. Meanwhile, you need to monitor your HbA1C (a blood test) regularly.

  2. Since Crestor, which is widely available, is reputed to cause diabetes, why is it not banned?
    Doctor2008: See reply above.

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