Diabetes drug Actos (pioglitazone) would be a “sensitive alternative” to Avandia (rosiglitazone), which was banned last year, a study has revealed.
The pair are used to control blood glucose levels in type-2 diabetes patients and both are known to increase the risk of heart failure.
After rosiglitazone was banned by European authorities, researchers at the University of East Anglia analysed 16 studies including more than 800,000 patients to compare the health risks associated with each drug.
Their study indicated that patients taking pioglitazone had fewer heart problems, while Diabetes UK concluded that it was a very effective treatment.
Those taking rosiglitazone, which is still available in the US and Canada, were 16% more likely to have a heart attack, 23% more likely to suffer from heart failure and 14% more likely to die compared with those patients who were prescribed pioglitazone.
The report said: “For patients who need thiazolidinedione treatment, continued use of rosiglitazone may lead to excess heart attacks, heart failure and mortality, compared with pioglitazone, the effect on public health may be considerable.”
- Loke KL, et al. Comparative cardiovascular effects of thiazolidinediones: systematic review and meta-analysis of observational studies. BMJ 2011; Advance online publication.
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