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Heart risk from diabetes drugs

27th July 2007

A study of data from more than 78,000 patients has suggested that two drugs prescribed to treat diabetes can double the risk of heart failure.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia say that fluid retention from the drugs - rosiglitazone and pioglitazone – may be to blame.

More than 1.5m prescriptions were issued last year for the drugs and now the researchers are calling on the regulatory authorities to re-think advice on use of the drugs.

The latest analysis of data, published in the journal Diabetes Care, estimates that one in every 50 people taking the drugs over a 26-month period will require hospital admission because of heart failure.

Dr Yoon Loke from the UEA, who led the research, said: “This means that the diabetes drugs could have caused thousands of additional cases of heart failure, creating a substantial burden on hard-pressed NHS services.?

The manufacturers’ information leaflets say that rosiglitazone (brand name Avandia) and pioglitazone (Actos) should not be used in patients known to have heart failure, but the UEA research indicates that the drugs can provoke the problem even in those without a history of heart disease.

The European Medicines Agency and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency say their experts were currently performing a re-evaluation of the benefits and risks of both rosiglitazone and pioglitazone.

GlaxoSmithKline, which makes Avandia said: “The risk of heart failure in diabetes patients and with use of these medicines is well recognised and is clearly identified in prescribing information to doctors in the UK.?

 

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