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Thursday 27th June 2019

Banned diabetes drug alternative

18th March 2011

UK researchers have suggested an alternative to a banned diabetes drug.


The team from the University of East Anglia (UEA) say that Actos would be a “sensible alternative” to Avandia – also known as rosiglitazone - which was banned last year.

Authorities in Europe suspended Avandia, although it is still available in America and Canada.

The UEA study, published on the BMJ website said patients taking Actos (pioglitazone) had fewer heart problems. The drug is also backed as an effective treatment by Diabetes UK.

The UEA compared the risks associated with each drug by analysing 16 studies of more 800,000 patients and found that rosiglitazone increased the risk of heart attack by 16%, heart failure by 23%, and death by 14% compared with pioglitazone.

The report says: “For patients who need thiazolidinedione treatment, continued use of rosiglitazone may lead to excess heart attacks, heart failure and mortality, compared with pioglitazone, the effect on public health may be considerable.”

Dr Yoon Loke from the UEA said that for patients who have come off rosiglitazone, pioglitazone would be a "sensible alternative".

Diabetes UK believes people with diabetes should have as much choice of drugs as possible.

Clinical advisor at Diabetes UK Deepa Khatri said: “For many people, Actos is a very effective treatment to help control blood glucose levels and Diabetes UK believes this drug should continue to be made available to ensure people with diabetes have as much choice as possible.”

But the charity stressed it was important that people discuss treatment options with their healthcare team.


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