Yes, yes, yes, Dear Readers, I have read about Avandia causing heart attacks. (Thank you all kindly for the tips.) But what I keep saying is, this is not news; they just have more concrete evidence now for flaws in the drug that were obvious since at least last August.
So much for GlaxoSmithKline's "DREAM Study" last Fall, ay? That drugmaker-backed study -- the largest D-prevention study ever conducted, in fact -- apparently "showed convincing evidence that the insulin sensitizer drug rosiglitazone (Avandia)... appears to cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes by more than half."
But even back then, analysts were warning of "troubling results regarding congestive heart failure and weight gain."
Now a new study by the Cleveland Clinic is showing that the widely prescribed drug may have caused heart attacks in "tens of thousands of people." (OK, the numbers are scary!) The study showed that patients on Avandia had a 43% higher risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increase in cardiovascular death.
Consumer advocacy groups are calling foul play, too, because GSK seems to have quietly informed the FDA of the risk last August, but neither party warned the public.
Instead of apologizing, the company is on the defensive, "strongly objecting to the results and defending use of the drug." They claim that they've been "fully transparent" and provided ample evidence that the drug is safe.
But what about those tens of thousands of people having heart attacks? You tell me...
In any case, please let's stem the widespread panic here... My visiting mother, for example, brandished the newspaper from the breakfast table this morning, asking (well, kind of yelling): "Oy Gott, is this what I'm taking?!"
"No mom, that's Metformin."
"But is that the generic name or something?"
"No mom, you're taking Metformin, a different drug."
"Aww, they make all these diabetes drugs in the same vat, don't they?
Oy Gott, I hope not...
******** UPDATE: ********
Is the media blowing the Avandia scare totally out of proportion? Some people think so.