The Dangers of Diabetic Drugs

Diabetes Drugs Associated with Heart Disease

One common debate is whether diabetes medications increase the risk of heart disease. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires oral diabetes medicines to carry a warning regarding increased risk of heart attack.

Several studies have associated a diabetes drug, Rosiglitazone, with cardiovascular mortality and morbidity. Rosiglitazone belongs to a class of anti-diabetic drugs knows as thiazolidinediones. The generic name of Rosiglitazone is Avandia. It is often referred to as an insulin sensitizer and used to treat people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

Studies Suggest Avandia Poses a Higher Risk of Heart Ailments

According to two extensive studies published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, patients who consume Avandia face a higher risk of developing fatal heart ailments.

The study conducted by Dr. David Graham, the associate director of the FDA, examined the data collected from over 220,000 elderly diabetics in a Medicare health insurance program who were either on Avandia or other diabetes treatment. The study found that patients on Avandia face an increased risk of stroke, heart failure and death, as compared to those not consuming the drug.

The other study headed by Dr. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiovascular medicine at the Cleveland Clinic in 2007 raised public concern about the adverse cardiovascular outcomes of Avandia. The researchers performed a meta-analysis of the data collected from 56 different studies. They compared data from 35,000 patients on diabetes treatment. It was found that patients consuming Avandia faced 33 percent more risk of having a heart attack as compared to patients on other treatments. Also, Avandia was associated with increased risk of myocardial infarction and death from cardiovascular ailments.

Some of the other side effects of Avandia are upper respiratory tract infection, back pain, headache, fatigue, sinusitis, hypoglycemia, diarrhea and edema.

Do Diabetes Drugs Increase Risk of Cancer?

Conventional drug treatment for diabetes does not have a good track record. Prescription drugs have various side effects and are associated with severe health complications. Several researches have revealed that long-term use of some common diabetes drugs can increase the risk of cancer.

Oral Diabetes Medication May Raise Cancer Risk

An analysis of five-year data collected from an ongoing 10-year study, conducted by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, showed a link between the common anti-diabetes drug Actos and increased risk of bladder cancer. Actos is an oral prescription medication that is used for treating type 2 diabetes mellitus. The generic name of the drug is pioglitazone. It belongs to the class of drug called peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) agonists.

The observational cohort study was conducted on 193,000 diabetics associated with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California health plan. The data was collected between January 1, 1997 and April 20, 2008. Higher incidents of bladder cancer were observed among patients who received pioglitazone for at least 2 years, as compared to those on other medication. Also, the diabetics with longest exposure to the drug and those with the highest cumulative dose experienced higher risk of bladder cancer.

Another study, conducted by Larry L. Hillblom Islet Research Centre at UCLA, associated a diabetes drug, sitagliptin with increased risk of pancreatic cancer and pancreatitis. Sitagliptin is used to treat type 2 diabetes. The study was conducted on 40 human IAPP transgenic (HIP) rats. Both sitagliptin and metformin were given to the rats for 12 weeks. The researchers found that some rats had exceptionally high rates of cell production in the pancreatic ducts. Few rats developed a condition known as ductal metaplasia and pancreatitis.

A few other studies conducted on animals have linked Victoza, another anti-diabetic drug, with increased risk of thyroid cancer.

Commonly Used Diabetes Pill Increases the Risk of Heart Attacks and Possibly Death

A widely used diabetes pill raises the risk of heart attacks and possibly death, according to a scientific analysis that reveals what some experts are calling another Vioxx-like example of the government failing to protect the public from an unsafe drug. More than 6 million people worldwide have taken the drug, sold as Avandia and Avandamet, since it came on the market eight years ago to help control blood sugar in people with the most common form of diabetes. About 1 million Americans use Avandia on the daily basis.

Avandia or Rosiglitazone is an anti-diabetic drug in the thiazolidinedione class of drugs. It is marketed by the pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline as a stand-alone drug Avandia and in combination with metformin (Avandamet) or with glimepiride (Avandaryl). Annual sales peaked at approx U.S. $4 Billion in 2008. A press release by GlaxoSmithKline in February 2007 noted that there is a greater incidence of fractures of the upper arms, hands and feet in female diabetics given rosiglitazone compared with those given metformin or glyburide.

The diabetes drug Avandia can significantly increase a patient’s risk of heart attack according to an analysis in today’s Journal of the American Medical Association. Avandia, a widely used but controversial drug used to treat diabetes, increased users’ risk of heart attacks by 42 percent and doubled their risk of heart failure, researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center have found. The study will appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association. For the study, researchers looked at four clinical trials that enrolled more than 14,000 patients for at least a year.

The Anti-Diabetic Medicine

Rosiglitazone belongs in the class of thiazolidinedione drugs. However, using this anti-diabetic drug requires doctor supervision as it may cause or worsen heart failure and increase the risk of developing heart-related problems in some patients.

Thiazolidinedione is a class of anti-diabetic drugs in which Rosiglitazone belongs. Available under the brand name, Avandia, Rosiglitazone is used to treat type 2 diabetes. This drug is more effective if used along with proper diet and exercise. Rosiglitazone can also be used alone or combined with other anti-diabetic medicines.

Medication Guide:

Rosiglitazone has the capability to lower blood sugar by making the cells in your body sensitive to insulin action. This oral anti-diabetic agent improves your body’s glycemic control as well as reduces circulating insulin levels. The drug is adjunct to exercise and proper diet to make it effective in improving glycemic control in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus.

Patients should start taking Rosiglitazone at the lowest recommended dosage. Increasing its dosage should be done so with doctor’s supervision and careful monitoring for any adverse events.

Limitation of Use:

You should not take Rosiglitazone if you have any allergy to one of its ingredient, have moderate or severe heart failure, history of liver problems, type 1 diabetes and taking nitrates. Before taking this drug, you should inform your doctor if you are pregnant, planning to get pregnant or breast-feeding. You should also tell your doctor if you have diabetic ketoacidoses, abnormal live function or have liver problems, swelling problems or heart problems.

Taking other medicines may cause adverse interaction. Tell your doctor if you are taking insulin or nitrates such as nitroglycerin, oral anti-diabetic medicines or gemfibrozil, rifampicin or anti-coagulants.

Possible Adverse Reactions:

Side effects of Rosiglitazone vary by patients. But the common side effects are weight gain and headache. Some patients may also experience severe allergic reactions such as difficulty breathing, itching, rashes, tightness in the chest, fainting, blurred vision, stomach pain, symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar such as increased sweating, drowsiness, anxiety or dizziness, chills, tremors, unusual bone pain, tiredness or weakness. Any side effect should not be taken for granted. Consult our doctor immediately.