Starting in November, the type 2 diabetes drugs Avandia, Avandamet, and Avandaryl will no longer be available in retail pharmacies, due to possible heart risks linked to rosiglitazone, an active ingredient in those drugs.
After Nov. 18, 2011, only certain patients will be able to get those drugs, and only by mail order through specially certified pharmacies.
Patients eligible to keep using Avandia, Avandamet, or Avandaryl are those who have already been successfully treated with these drugs or those whose blood sugar cannot be controlled by other diabetes drugs and who, after consulting with their doctor, decline to use the diabetes drugs Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, or Duetact.
Those are the FDA’s latest rules on the use of rosiglitazone.
This is not a new issue. The FDA issued a safety alert about a possible association between rosiglitazone and increased cardiovascular risks back in 2007 and has been studying the issue for several years.
Last fall, the FDA decided to restrict access to drugs containing rosiglitazone — but not to ban those drugs. That decision followed an FDA advisory panel’s debate in July 2010 about rosiglitazone.
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