Avandia Targeted by FDA for Serious Heart Problems

The use of the diabetes drug, Avandia, has now been strictly limited by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). European regulators went one step further by entirely suspending the drug’s sales. Research has established a potential link between Avandia and increased heart risks including heart attacks and strokes.

Avandia used to be the most popular diabetes drug worldwide, with sales of more than three billion in 2006. Concerns began to arise in 2007 after Dr. Steven Nissen, a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic, published a study on the drug’s risks to the heart.

Dr. Nissen based his analysis on clinical trial data the drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, was forced to post online as the result of a legal settlement. His research demonstrated patients taking Avandia had a 43 percent increase in heart attacks. A later study by an FDA scientist came to similar conclusions.

According to Senate investigators, GlaxoSmithKline hid clear information about Avandia’s heart risks from regulatory authorities for years. An estimate by one study was that between 1999 and 2009 over 47,000 patients on Avandia suffered unnecessary heart attacks, strokes, heart failure or death.

The Use of Avandia Going Forward

Type two diabetics in the United States will now only be allowed access to Avandia if they have exhausted all other options to control their blood sugar. They must also be made aware of the significant heart risks involved. Similar drugs have been identified as safer alternatives.

Such disturbing statistics led many to wonder why the FDA did not go another step further and completely ban Avandia. The FDA explained it considered the drug’s risks and benefits in an effort to strike a balance in supporting clinical care.

The approximately 600,000 diabetics currently prescribed Avandia may continue to use it as long they understand the risks. Patients now using Avandia should not stop taking it without consulting their physicians first.

Unfortunately, Avandia is just one of many dangerous drugs in the market. Avandia is one of many recently prescribed drugs found to have severe side effects after they are in widespread use.

Recent Controversial Drugs and Their Dangerous Effects:

  • Accutane– depression, suicidal thoughts, Crohn’s disease/inflammatory bowel disease
  • Avandia– heart failure, heart attacks, strokes
  • Ephedra– heart attack, stroke
  • Fosamax– thigh bone fractures, osteonecrosis of the jaw (condition including pain, swelling, infection and exposed bone)
  • Meridia– heart attack, stroke
  • Ortho Evra– pulmonary embolism/blood clot, stroke
  • Paxil– birth defects
  • Prempro– breast cancer
  • Zocor– muscle injury, kidney failure

If you have suffered severe side effects from any of the above medications or other controversial pharmaceutical drugs you should contact a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer. An experienced attorney can evaluate any potential claims you may have and advocate on your behalf.