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Canadian Study Raises More Concerns Over Avandia

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Elderly diabetics taking Avandia face a higher risk of heart failure and death than those taking  Actos, a new study conducted by Canadian researchers has found.  According to a Reuters report, the findings prompted the authors of the study to question the continuing use of Avandia.

“Given the accumulating evidence of harm with rosiglitazone (Avandia) treatment and the lack of a distinct clinical advantage for the drug over pioglitazone (Actos), it is reasonable to question whether ongoing use of rosiglitazone is justified,” the study authors wrote in the British Medical Journal.

Avandia’s cardiovascular side effects first became the subject of concern in May 2007, when an analysis of 42 clinical trails published by the Cleveland Clinic showed that patients taking the drug had a 43-percent higher risk of having a heart attack. That summer, GlaxoSmithKline and the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) came under fire for an apparent failure to warn the public about the cardiac risks associated with Avandia. In November 2007, a warning detailing Avandia’s association with myocardial ischemia was added to the drug’s boxed warning.

According to Reuters, researchers at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre in Toronto analyzed six years of records for nearly 40,000 patients aged 66 years and older.  They found that for every 93 patients given Avandia rather than Actos there would be one additional cardiovascular event or death each year. No significant difference in the risk of heart attack between Avandia and Actos was found.

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