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Diabetes Watch Blog: Health Canada Issues Warning For Avandia and Avandamet

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Dec 23, 2005

Health Canada Issues Warning For Avandia and Avandamet

Health Canada Issues Warning For Avandia and Avandamet
Health Canada is issuing warnings for two commonly used drugs to treat Type-2 diabetes. The warning states that use of these drugs may lead to new cases or worsening of a vision problem called macular edema.

Macular edema is swelling of the retina because of fluid at the back of the eye. It is more likely to occur in people with high blood pressure, poor control of their blood sugar levels or diabetic retinopathy, which is a disease of retina disease caused by diabetes.

Symptoms of macular edema include:
  • Blurred or distorted vision.
  • Decreased colour sensitivity.
  • Poorer adaptation to the dark.

People taking the drugs also had fluid retention, swelling of the extremities and weight gain.

Patients taking the tablets should not stop doing so without checking with a doctor, since an increase in blood-sugar levels could cause medical problems, the company's public advisory said.

Those diagnosed with macular edema or diabetic retinopathy should see a doctor. Regular eye checkups should be part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan, said the public advisory, which was endorsed by the regulator.

"In some cases, the visual impairment was reported to have improved or resolved following discontinuation of Avandia or Avandamet," GlaxoSmithKline said in a letter to health professionals posted on Health Canada's drug and health products website.

The letter warns doctors that both drugs "should be used with caution in patients with a pre-existing diagnosis of macular edema or diabetic retinopathy."


JoAnn      



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Type-2 Diabetes
Type-2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes, accounting for 90% of cases diabetes. This disease affects nearly 17 million Americans and is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States. Even though 17 million Americans have type-2 diabetes only half of these people are aware that they have diabetes. The death rate in patients with diabetes may be up to 11 times higher than in persons without the disease. The occurrence of diabetes in persons 45 to 64 years of age is 7 percent, but the proportion increases significantly in persons 65 years of age or older. Type-2 diabetes accounts for more than 90% of all diabetes worldwide.

Diabetes Watch Blog: Health Canada Issues Warning For Avandia and Avandamet

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