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new diabetes drugs raise concerns

New Details Deepens Concern

Avandia is currently the top-selling diabetic drug with total US sales of $2.2 billion in 2006. A one-month supply sells for between $90 and $170. Several months ago the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) revealed that Avandia is associated with a 43% increase in heart attacks and up to 64% increase in cardiovascular deaths.

Following the NEJM paper a new study has revealed additional details on the side effects of Avandia indicating that the drug causes 50% greater weight gain than similar medications while doubling the risk of dangerous fluid retention in the body

. These new findings should be a matter of concern. An editorial in NEJM states, “the drug represents a major failure of the drug-use and drug approval processes in the United States.” Yet, the FDA has yet to take Avandia off the market. So in the meantime the public takes part in a large-scale experiment.

Terry Pfau DO, HMD

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