Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate), approved by the FDA in 1999, is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, a serious condition affecting approximately 20 million Americans. GlaxoSmithKline manufactures the drug prescribed for diabetes, a leading cause of coronary heart disease, blindness, kidney failure as well as limb amputation.
For patients with Type 2 diabetes, Avandia, along with diet and exercise, lowers blood sugar and can help keep it under control. Avandia can be taken alone or with other diabetes medicines. Many people need to take more than one medicine to help treat diabetes in different ways. Avandia is also available in combination with other diabetes medicines including Avandamet and Avandaryl.
Avandia, part of a newer class of diabetes drugs called thiazolidinediones or glitazones, increases the body’s sensitivity to insulin. The FDA approved Avandia on May 25, 1999 to treat Type 2 diabetes.
Possible side-effects caused by patients taking Avandia include congestive heart failure, edema, and fluid retention, liver toxicity and low blood pressure. Yellowing of the skin and dark urine are signs of liver disease which can be caused by Avandia.
In an analysis of 40 studies and more than 28,000 patients, researchers found that those taking Avandia were between 30 to 40 percent more likely to suffer heart attack and heart-related deaths than those taking a placebo or other diabetes drugs. As of May 2007, the FDA said data analyses were ongoing to confirm the risks. Doctors also recommend checking eye sight while taking Avandia as it is reported to cause vision changes.
Avandia may increase risk of pregnancy. Women nursing infants should not take Avandia. More fractures, usually in the upper arm, hand, or foot, have been seen in women taking Avandia. Patients with type 1 diabetes, or in patients who have experienced yellowing of the skin (jaundice) from taking other types of diabetes mellitus medications should not take Avandia. Also, patients with a history of heart failure, kidney disease or ketoacidosis should refrain from taking the drug.
If I suffered a heart attack while taking Avandia, can I sue GlaxoSmithKline?
Possibly, yes. GlaxoSmithKline has made billions of dollars in profits from Avandia, one of the most popular diabetes drugs in the world. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” To discuss potential litigation regarding your Avandia case, contact our attorneys at 1-800-706-3000 and ask to speak to a case intake specialist.
I am taking Avandia for my diabetes; should I stop?
Not necessarily. Patients who are taking Avandia, especially those who are known to have underlying heart disease or who are at high risk of heart attack, should talk to their doctor immediately about this new information to evaluate alternate treatment options for their type 2 diabetes. There are other drugs that can be used to treat your condition, but only your doctor will know which one is right for you.
The FDA has not confirmed the clinical significance of the reported increased risk in the context of other studies. Changing or stopping diabetes medications can cause serious health problems and should be considered carefully with your health care provider. In light of the latest information, each patient should make an informed, individualized decision after thorough consultation with his or her doctor.
Does Avandia cause heart attacks?
Possibly. While there are no confirmed findings of Avandia causing heart attacks, the FDA reports patients receiving short-term treatment with Avandia may have a 30-40 percent greater risk of heart attack and other heart-related adverse events than patients treated with placebo or other anti-diabetic therapy. Because two-thirds of patients with Type 2 diabetes die from heart problems, any drug that increases this risk may lead to fatal heart conditions.
Can I file a lawsuit if I have suffered damages from taking Avandia?
Possibly. While all medications have certain, anticipated side effects, a drug manufacturer has a duty to inform physicians adequately regarding the known risks associated with its drugs. If a manufacturer fails to do so, it can be held responsible to patients who are injured as the result of inadequate warnings, under a legal theory known as “product liability.” Depending upon the particular circumstances of your case, damages may include recovery for any of the following:
- Past and future medical expenses
- Past and future pain and suffering
- Lost wages
- Loss of future earning capacity
- Emotional distress
If you or a loved one has experienced any health problems while taking Avandia, you should contact your doctor immediately. You may also wish to contact an experienced Avandia lawyer to discuss your legal options. As all legal claims are subject to time limits, however, you may risk forfeiture of your right to financial compensation if you delay.