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Dr. Norris J. Chumley Satisfied Life

Recently, the American Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and some European agencies announced that they were not recommending continuation of a medication for diabetes, Avandia (generic name Rosiglitazone), as it was implicated in heart disease.  Further, sales of the drug will be eliminated in Europe and severely restricted in the U.S.  Only if patients have tried every other medication to curtail diabetes complications, unsuccessfully, will they be allowed to be prescribed Avandia.  Patients on it now, may continue.

Why would you, though?  The drug has had a complicated past.  In one research study, statistics arose that over 47,000 patients in the decade of 1999-2009 had needlessly endured heart attacks, strokes and heart attacks, or outright died.

What’s worse, the drug’s maker, GlaxoSmithKline, had purportedly hidden negative statistics, being forced to reveal them only after a lawsuit occurred.  A physician, Dr. Steven Nissen a cardiologist with the Cleveland Clinic had suspected problems, and done his own research.  He became a crusader against Avandia, almost by himself.  Thank you, Dr. Nissen.  Makes one think, though, why did it take so long and so much effort, and clear evidence that this drug was dangerous?

If you are on Avandia, time to reconsider.  Get to your doctor ASAP.  See if there’s another way to reduce or control your blood sugar.  Perhaps through a new food plan?

This is a stark reminder of the need for all of us to review our medications, and supplements on a regular basis.  Ask yourself and your doctor, “what am I taking?  What are the risks and side effects? Are there safer things to do, other medications less risky, changes I could make?”  Not only prescriptions need annual or semi-annual review – vitamins and herbs do too.

What you’re taking every day may not be necessary.  Or there may be better, safer alternatives.

More information?  Check out this report in the New York Times

Take a look at an article in the New England Journal of Medicine, on health policy reform.

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