Doctors still prescribing Avandia despite the health warnings
Doctors are still prescribing Avandia, the diabetes drug, even though it may soon be withdrawn from the market following concerns that it increases the risk of heart attack and failure.
Although the UK’s drugs watchdog, the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency, has called for the drug to be withdrawn from the UK market, it remains available on the National Health service (NHS). Doctors also seem to be unconcerned by the health alerts, and are continuing to prescribe the drug every day. The US’s drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration, is also considering a ban.
The history of Avandia (rosiglitazone) has been like a slow train crash. Concerns that it could cause congestive heart failure and fatal heart attack first surfaced in 2007 when it was discovered that 19 per cent of patients died from heart failure while taking the drug. More recently, researchers discovered that the drug also increases the risk of fracture in post-menopausal women.
But still the prescriptions keep coming.
(Sources: BBC Panorama, September 6, 2010; Journal of the American Medical Association, 2007; 298: 2634-43).