The drug Avandia, manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline, is used to treat Type 2 diabetes by helping patients control their blood sugar levels. The drug has enjoyed phenomenal sales, with 60 million prescriptions written since 1999. However, if you have taken Avandia to control your diabetes, you should be aware this best-selling drug has been linked to serious, life-threatening side effects.
In May 2007, a New England Journal of Medicine study found that Avandia increased the risk of heart attacks by 43 percent. Two months later, an FDA panel acknowledged the elevated risk of heart attacks from the drug but decided to keep it on the market with a “black box” warning. Diabetics who have mild heart disease or problems with their kidneys are at an elevated risk of developing congestive heart failure.
Heart problems are not the only serious side effect from Avandia. Experiments by a Salk Institute researcher found that the diabetes drug actually promoted osteoporosis by slowing bone growth while also speeding up bone loss. That finding reinforced clinical studies that showed an increased risk of bone fractures among patients who took Avandia.
One of the most serious health effects associated with Avandia is the onset of primary pulmonary hypertension, or PPH. This is a rare condition that causes the narrowing of blood vessels and results in high blood pressure. PPH is a precursor to heart failure, and this risk is highest in patients taking insulin or medicines called nitrates. Patients who develop PPH face these dire consequences:
- Shortness of breath
- Fainting or loss of consciousness
- Heart failure
Immediately contact your doctor if you have experienced any of the serious side effects associated with Avandia.