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Diabetes Drug Banned in Europe for Causing 83,000 Heart Attacks

Avandia, the Type 2 Diabetes drug, hit the market in 1999 and quickly became a blockbuster drug. By 2006 its annual revenue in USA was $3.2 billion. By 2009, sales had dropped to $1.2 billion following a damning study published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) in 2007, which linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attack and a 64% higher risk of cardiovascular death than patients treated with other methods.

A September 23, 2010 article in the NEJM announced that, finally, the US FDA has stepped forward and decided on regulatory action for Avandia, a diabetes drug that last year claimed 1,354 lives as a result of cardiac-associated problems in USA.

British regulators have ruled that GlaxoSmithKline’s diabetes drug Avandia could lead to heart attacks or strokes, and benefits no longer outweigh the risks and removed it from the market. However, it is still available in Australia!!

Evidence linking Avandia to an increased risk of a heart attack or stroke has been building since 2007, and GSK has agreed to pay $460 million in damages to settle about 10,000 lawsuits in USA linking its use to patients suffering serious medical setbacks.

The drug in question here, rosiglitazone, is sold under the names of Avandia, Avandamet and Avaglim. Avandia alone is used by 2 million people worldwide.

The only thing rosiglitazone drugs like Avandia do is to help lower blood glucose, which has virtually no influence on the long-term damage due to Type 2 Diabetes. Most of the damage is caused by elevated insulin levels, which can be remedied with an optimal diet and exercise program.

GlaxoSmithKline, the manufacturer of Avandia, hid damaging information about the drug for over ten years, as it would adversely affect their sales. Between 1999 and 2007, Avandia is estimated to have caused 83,000 unnecessary heart attacks. This is 20,000 more deaths than Merck caused when they sold Vioxx which has now been recalled worldwide.

If you, or anyone you know, is still taking this drug, warn them of this danger.

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