Mind and Body

US Restricts, EU Bans Diabetes Pill‎ Avandia

The diabetes drug Avandia has been ordered off the market in Europe. But it will still be available in the United States – amid some tough new restrictions.

Regulators say the heart attack risks associated with the drug are too great a safety concern.

In Europe, it'll be off the market in a few months. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration says patients will be able to get a prescription for it – but only if they can't control their blood sugar with other medications. Doctors will have to show that the patients are eligible to receive the drug, and that they've been briefed on the risks.

A doctor at the Cleveland Clinic – who published the first paper linking Avandia to heart risks – says the actions in Europe and the U.S. will have the same result, nearly eliminating the use of Avandia.

The maker of the drug, GlaxoSmithKline, says it will voluntarily stop promoting Avandia in all countries where it operates. But it says it still thinks Avandia is "an important treatment for patients with type-2 diabetes."