Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Oops, they’ve done it again - Avandia(r) in the news

A drug that is used by millions across the world has been found that it may cause more harm than good. In a study published online yesterday in the New England Journal of Medicine, researchers reported that Avandia® (rosiglitazone maleate) increased the risk of heart attacks by 43% and increased the risk of heart death by 64%.

Following on the heels of the recall of Vioxx® (rofecoxib), a medication for the treatment of osteoarthritis, acute pain, and painful menstrual cramps, the study findings about Avandia is not helping the public’s confidence in federal drug regulating bodies in Canada and the United States.

What is the average consumer to do? That’s hard to say. At this point, anyone who is taking Avandia should continue to do so until they speak with their doctor. You should never discontinue a medication for a chronic illness without having a back-up plan with your healthcare provider.

I used to take Vioxx. It was one of the medications that could help relieve my back pain. I didn’t take it regularly, every day, but I did use it. I have to seriously ask myself if I would take it now, knowing the risks. Part of me says that I would – after all, it’s nice to be pain-free.

On one hand, with all the checks and balances our system has for drug research, one would hope that drugs wouldn’t be get to the market until they’re thoroughly investigated. On the other hand, not all problems with drugs can be seen during the study phases. Many issues only come up after a drug has been used for a while and used by many people.

I’m not here to put down or promote the pharmaceuticals. I do try to see both sides of the story. But if you’re one of the millions who take Avandia today, I can understand how and why you might not feel the same way.

News for today:

Diabetes drug may boost heart risks, study finds
Chronic gum disease linked to risk of tongue cancer
FDA set to OK period suppression pill

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