Avandia: Conspicuously Laying Low

In all my recent coverage of the AADE Meeting, I neglected to mention who was conspicuously missing from the exhibitor floor: GlaxoSmithKline, i.e. no trace of the embattled drug Avandia anywhere.

Thank you to Close Concerns consultancy for accentuating this. Here’s what that group had to say in their latest industry newsletter, released last week:

“There was, as you would expect, a lot of discussion about Avandia but not much consensus. In our discussions with CDEs, we heard mixed answers about whether Avandia is dead. Several mentioned Takeda [makers of rival drug Actos] favorably because it gives out a lot of samples with virtually noMan_in_caution_tape_2 follow up. Few CDEs said that they would point-blank stop prescribing Avandia, but we sensed a lot of caution.”

In fact, the only consensus seemed to be that “If you have two drugs that do the same thing and there’s problems with one of them, then why would you use that one?” Right.

Prominent Harvard cardiologist Dr. Om Ganda, who addressed the Actos-vs.-Avandia cardiovascular risk issue, seemed to disappoint the audience with nothing but ambiguity: “it depends on data yet to come.”

Meanwhile the FDA expert panel ruling on July 30 clearly thought there was not enough evidence to take Avandia off the market at this time.

So what’s the best thing for doctors and diabetes educators to do with Avandia now? “Remain careful” about giving it to patients with heart health problems, Dr. Ganda advised.

Now there’s some solid advice. No wonder GlaxoSmithKline is hiding out.


7 Responses

  1. Linda B.
    Linda B. August 29, 2007 at 8:48 am | | Reply

    my boyfriend had been aking Avandia and then avandamet for a very long time. When this ruling came out I immediatly called our physician and scheduled an appointment. They switched him to Januvamet. They said they are pulling all their patients off any Avandia drugs and going to Januvamet. They also took him off the Byetta when he started the Januvamet because it does the same thing as Byetta. All I can say is he feels better physically being off the Avandia. He is dropping weight and of course he seems to be happier knowing he is off Avandia. plus it’s two less injections a day. Not bad.

  2. anonymous
    anonymous August 29, 2007 at 6:56 pm | | Reply

    Linda B. – You’re going to find that AIC control is nill to none with a DPP-4 inhibitor such as Janumet, not Januviamet. Studies show an “average” A1C decrease of .8 pp. Versus a possible 2.6 with a TZD (Actos or Avandia). Byetta will give a weight loss that a DPP-4 cannot. It does not do the same thing as Byetta. Your boyfriend should consider a second opinion. Remember that 80% of diabetics die of cardiovascular complications anyhow. Those are complications that are related to uncontrolled sugars. Do some research and discover the ability of high sugars to destroy the body.

    Good luck to you.

  3. Linda B.
    Linda B. August 29, 2007 at 7:49 pm | | Reply

    His A!c is a consistent 6.5. He refuses to take the Avandia because of his faily history of type 2 and cardiovascular disease. His father has recently had Quintuple bypass surgery after a heart attack and many years of non-compliance. If this gives him peace of mind sobe it. I never stated I was not going to research it. After 30 years treating and learning about my own type 1, I am not stupid. What do you treat yourself with? All the medical terms you throw out are great, but in the end what is your treatment? Curious to know. As far as dying of cardiovascular events anyhow, your quote not mine, I have a family mrmber who has been a type 2 for close to 65 years and has never had a cardiovascular complication is his life, he is now over 80 years old. You say this as if its inevitable, maybe, anonymous, you need a second opinion yourself, that fatalistic attitude can be detrimental to yourself in you treatment.
    Amy, I apologize for venting on your blog, I know it is not meant for that. Keep up the great work.

  4. Antigonos
    Antigonos August 30, 2007 at 12:59 am | | Reply

    I take Glucophage, Gluben, and Avandia. Recently, in addition to weight gain, I noticed pitting edema in my feet, and stopped the Avandia. Edema vanished. I don’t have any cardiac problems, but there is a limit to the amounts of yogurt and salad I can eat and even the permitted amounts of carbohydrate, without Avandia, cause my A1c and glucometer readings to be unacceptably high. I really don’t know what to do (Actos is not available in Israel). My doctor does not want to go to insulin, but tells me to “eat less”. It’s all quite worrying, frankly.

  5. Linda B.
    Linda B. August 30, 2007 at 11:25 am | | Reply

    Antigonos– we were dealing with the same things you were with the Avandia. But with the change to Januamet and the once a day injection of Lantus, we personally are having great results. Everyone needs to seek their own best course of treatment, by no means is there one blanket treatment for everyone. Maybe adding a long acting insulin might be beneficial to you. The good thing to remember is that unlike type 1 diabetics, you can make it possible for yourself to go back off the insulin when you reach and maintain your goals, I’ve seen it happen and I know its possible. Insulin is not the end of the world.

  6. Cary
    Cary August 31, 2007 at 8:11 am | | Reply

    My father has been on Actos but since the black label has scheduled an appointment to change his meds. His family has a history of heart problems and recently had complained of some chest pains. Is there any specific medication ww should mention when visiting the doctor?

  7. RS Mallory
    RS Mallory January 13, 2008 at 12:28 pm | | Reply

    Just found a terrific ENERGY DRINK that is made with STEVIA and has less than 1 gram of sugar (as Stevia) It’s not only great for keeping sugar levels even but CRAVE delivers a gentle 4-6 hour Energy Boost. I didn’t get any headaches, jitters or shakes :-)

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