After analysis of previous studies, researchers from the Lahey Clinic have reported that those who have heart disease or a history of heart failure should use caution when using certain diabetes drugs. They hope that this finding will add clarity to the debate on treatment.
The results of seven randomized clinical trials with an enrollment of 20,000 patients to study Actos and Avandia, which are from the drug class thiazolidinediones (TZDs) that lower blood sugar, were reviewed by Dr. Richard W. Nesto and his colleagues.
They reached the conclusion that while TZDs increase the relative risk of heart failure in those who have type 2 diabetes or are close to it by 72 percent, there is no elevation in the risk of cardiovascular death. Heart failure was already a known risk.
The report by Lahey follows a Cleveland Clinic review article by Dr. Steven E. Nissen that was published in the New England Journal of Medicine in June of 2007. The analysis made by Nissen found that there was a significant increase in the risk of heart attack for those that take Avandia and that there was a borderline-significant risk of cardiovascular death.
A warning was added to the label on Avandia by the US Food and Drug Administration in August.
According to Nesto, the data examined by his group were more robust than the results analyzed by Nissen.
Other studies have warned of the dangers of using Avandia to treat diabetes.