Diabetes Drug to Be Removed From Shelves

Beginning in November, the popular diabetes drug, Avandia, will be removed from your local pharmacy’s shelves, the federal government said Tuesday.

The new program will take effect November 18, at which point only certified doctors may prescribe the drug and only patients who know the risks and are filling their prescription through the mail from specific pharmacies may receive the drug, USA Today reported.

A 2007 analysis published by Nissan showed the diabetes drug increased the risk of heart attack by about 40 percent in type 2 diabetes patients, who already have a heightened risk of heart attacks because of the disease.

FDA drug-safety expert David Graham told an advisory committee in 2007 that Avandia had caused heart problems, including deaths, in 66,000 to 200,000 people.

Avandia is the trade name for the drug rosiglitazone, which is on the market as part of the combination drugs Avandamet and Avandaryl. Nearly half a million patients in the USA filled prescriptions for these products from January through October of 2010.

Avandia was approved in 1999 to decrease blood-sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Type 2 diabetes affects about 23 million Americans.

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