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Avandia (rosiglitazone) is a pharmaceutical used by people with type 2 diabetes to control their blood sugar. It is prescribed by a doctor and can be used along with insulin. Avandia's primary use is to help the body better regulate naturally occurring insulin.
Avandia was marketed in 2000 by GlaxoSmithKline to replace another drug called Rezulin that had adverse side effects. The Food and Drug Administration was required not long after this to require a list of warnings about the risks of Avandia. The list of potential side effects included:
- Dangerously low blood sugar
- Macular edema, or eye swelling
- Recurring ovulation in women who have stopped menstruating, but do not use birth control and have not yet reached menopause
- Hepatitis or liver failure leading to liver transplant or death
- Cardiovascular problems and congestive heart failure
Symptoms of taking Avandia that are linked to side effects include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Low red blood cell count
- Increased incidence of bone fractures
Avandia and Heart Attacks
In May, 2007, the FDA applied a black box warning to Avandia. These warnings are given when the threats to health are very dangerous, but there is not yet a need to withdraw the drug from the market. This was done when it became apparent Avandia greatly increased the threat of heart attacks and heart failure in diabetes patients.
On Saturday, February 20, 2010, a Senate report was released stating GlaxoSmithKline has known for years about the heart attack risks associated with Avandia. It is estimated that between 1999 and 2007, there were more than 80,000 heart attacks that could be directly tied to Avandia. As recently as the third quarter of 2009, there were over 204 deaths reported linked to Avandia.
Avandia is still on the market and used by those with type 2 diabetes. Though a black box warning has been issued for the drug, if you are concerned about the symptoms associated with Avandia side effects, speak to your physician about the risks.