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Diabetes drug linked to heart failure


More evidence has been published supporting claims that a popular diabetes drug is linked to increased risk of heart failure.

Canadian researchers compared the Type 2 diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) with another medicine, pioglitazone, and concluded it was difficult to justify continuing patients on rosiglitazone when it had no substantial advantage over pioglitazone.

The researchers wrote: “Among older patients with diabetes, pioglitazone is associated with a significantly lower risk of heart failure and death than is rosiglitazone.

“Given that rosiglitazone lacks a distinct clinical advantage over pioglitazone, continued use of rosiglitazone may not be justified.”

The study, published online in the British Medical Journal (BMJ), supports previous research that rosiglitazone is associated with an increased risk of heart failure and death.

Researchers looked at almost 40,000 patients aged 66 years or over who started treatment with either rosiglitazone or pioglitazone between April 2002 and March 2008.

They found that with every 93 patients treated with rosiglitazone rather than pioglitazone, one extra episode of heart failure was expected each year.

Dr Iain Frame, director of research at Diabetes UK, said: “This study adds to the overall body of evidence about the effects of these drugs, yet the claim that one drug is safer than the other remains inconclusive.

“Perhaps longer term follow-up studies investigating the effectiveness and safety of drugs in clinical practice would be useful.”

Copyright Press Association 2009

Diabetes UK

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