Common Diabetes Drug Linked to Increased Risk of Heart Failure
Researchers have uncovered a link between a common diabetes drug and increased risk of heart failure. Their conclusion? It's hard to find a reason to keep patients on it.
Are you taking rosiglitazone for type 2 diabetes? After reading the results of a new study in the British Medical Journal on this common drug and heart failure, you're going to want to talk to your doctor about making a change.
Thiazolidinediones, a class of drugs widely used for type 2 diabetes, have always been linked to such side effects as weight gain, fluid retention and, yes, heart failure.
But new research shows that one drug in this class, rosiglitazone, is linked to an increased risk in heart failure so significant that it left researchers with the conclusion that it would be hard to advocate continued use for most patients.
Translation? Get off rosiglitazone now.
Looking at almost 40,000 patients aged 66 and over, researchers saw that patients treated with pioglitazone (another drug in the same class) had a significantly lower risk of heart failure. The risk is still there, of course— and the risk of heart attack is about the same with both drugs.
It's predicted that, for every 93 patients treated with rosiglitazone rather than pioglitazone, one more instance of heart failure or death would occur annually.
I don't like those odds.
And the real kicker is that rosiglitazone has no clinical benefits over the other drug—which makes me wonder why it even came to the table in the first place.
These results don't only cast rosiglitazone in a bad light— they also reinforce the dangers of thiazolidinediones in general. Because the researchers added that, while the study shows this increased risk of heart failure, it doesn't necessarily mean that pioglitazone is any safer.
With a ringing endorsement like that, is it any wonder that my first instinct would be to stay far, far away from both drugs?
"Diabetes Drug Linked To Increased Risk Of Heart Failure, Study Concludes," Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com).