Diabetes societies urge patients on Avandia to stay the course

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Despite the mounting publicity surrounding rosiglitazone (Avandia, GlaxoSmithKline) and its potential to cause cardiovascular events, the Endocrine Society, American Diabetes Association and American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE) are urging patients with diabetes who currently take rosiglitazone to speak with their physicians before discontinuing use of the drug, after an FDA advisory committee meeting last week questioned the safety of the drug and its future on the market.

“Even with the panel's recommendation, the amount of scrutiny the drug has received may lead some diabetes patients who currently take rosiglitazone to want to stop taking the drug,” the joint statement said. The associations are advising that diabetic patients on rosiglitazone treatment stay on the therapy unless otherwise noted by their physician.

“Regardless of the opinion and decisions on rosiglitazone, patients should be aware that there are numerous drugs available to maintain glucose control in people with type 2 diabetes,” the societies said.

The statement said that the evidence supporting or opposing rosiglitazone's potential to cause CV events is not “definitive” and said that it will provide a detailed account of the FDA decisions when they are made public.

"The worst outcome would be to not treat diabetes properly, thereby risking its complications," said Daniel Einhorn, MD, president of AACE. "This unintended consequence has happened with past inquiries into diabetes medications, and we very much want to avoid it happening again."