There was news last week that a meta-analysis (an analysis of many analyses) led by Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic of 42 separate studies on Avandia (rosiglitazone, an athiazolidinedione) for the FDA that concluded it raised the risk of heart attacks by 43 percent compared to the rates among people taking no or other diabetes drugs (Washington Post 5/25/07). The analysis also indicated that Avandia might increase the risk of heart-related deaths.
GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, says that their own similar analysis suggested a 31 percent greater risk. Given that 6 million people worldwide have takent the drug and that it's US sales topped $2.2 billion last year, this news could present a big problem for GSK.
What does this mean for diabetics currently taking Avandia?
The answer seems to be that no one quite knows. The FDA has issued a "safety alert" advising Type 2 diabetics who have concerns because there is a high risk of heart disease, have heart disease or a family history of heart disease, to consult their doctor before taking any action and to explore treatment options. Whatever you do, don't just stop taking the medication without having talked with your doctor.