Avandia: Helps Diabetes; Hurts Life Expectency

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The widely prescribed diabetes drug Avandia (generic name rosiglitazone) is linked to a greater risk of heart attack and possibly death, says a new scientific analysis published online Monday.

GlaxoSmithKline downplayed the risks today and announced their new Avandia ad slogan: "When you're dead, you'll never have to worry about Diabetes again."

More than 6 million people worldwide have taken the drug sold by London-based GlaxoSmithKline PLC since it came on the market eight years ago. Pooled results of dozens of studies revealed a 43 percent higher risk of heart attack, according to the review published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Experts said the overall risk was small and cautioned people not to stop taking the drug on their own but to talk to their doctors.

The company played down the report of heart risks, saying the analysis by Dr. Steven Nissen and statistician Kathy Wolski at the Cleveland Clinic is not definitive scientific proof. In a conference call Monday, Dr. Lawson McCartney who leads Glaxo's diabetes drug development, said the company is not seeing "anything like" the problems reported in the medical journal.


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