Diabetes drugs linked to heart failure

A study in the journal Diabetes Care has suggested that Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone), two drugs used to treat type 2 diabetes, may increase the risk of heart failure.

Analysis of data on more than 78,000 patients estimated that one in every 50 people taking either Avandia or Actos over a 26-month period will have to be admitted to hospital for heart failure. Even those patients without existing heart disease are put at risk.

Regulatory bodies have said that patients should not stop taking glitazones, but should consult their doctor if concerned. The European Medicines Agency (EMEA) is re-evaluating the benefits and risks of taking these drugs and any revision to current guidance will be based on these conclusions.

GlaxoSmithKline, manufacturers of Avandia, have said they are aware of the risk of heart failure and this is clearly identified in the SPC for the product.

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