May 21, 2007

DREAM STUDY: Avandia Kills People

As reported by the New York Times today. The DREAM study, which Glaxo, the manufacturer of Avandia ran to prove that Avandia would improve the health of people without diabetes so they could sell it to everyone else, instead found this:

"...patients taking Avandia had 66 percent more heart attacks, 39 percent more strokes and 20 percent more deaths from cardiovascular-related problems. That outcome, Dr. Nissen [writing in the New England Journal of medicine] wrote, “virtually precludes the possibility of an overall benefit and suggest [sic] an unexpected mechanism for harm.”

There are already quite a few studies showing that Avandia and its evil twin, Actos, don't do much for blood sugar. What they do do, very well, is grow new, permanent, fat cells (just what someone with diabetes needs!)They also cause water swelling (edema) which can lead to the macular edema which can cause blindness, and in older women they lead to osteoporosis. It has been known for a few years that these drugs appear to cause heart failure. All these side effects have been documented in multiple studies, not just one.

But this expensive drug has been on the market, racking up profits for its maker, since 1999. It has taken 8 years for the nastier side effects to become publicly known. Several of the troubling side effects, including macular edema, were documented on my What they Don't Tell You About Diabetes web site more than a year before they appeared in the mainstream medical press. You can read detailed discussions of what the research shows about all the oral diabetic drugs at

The next time you reach for a brand new drug your doctor tells you will regenerate your beta cells, ask him how long it has been on the market and how much he knows about side effects reported after the drug was released. Until a drug has been on the market for 7 or 8 years, you can be pretty sure that information about any serious side effects has been suppressed by the drug company.

And Glaxo has made enough money from Avandia by now that even if it did kill a bunch of people to whose families they might have to pay damages, the billions the drug earned made it worth it.

Note, that the guy blowing the whistle in the NEJM is also the guy who nailed Vioxx.


Anonymous said...

There are already quite a few studies showing that Avandia and its evil twin, Actos, don't do much for blood sugar. What they do do, very well, is grow new, permanent, fat cells (just what someone with diabetes needs!

You are wrong. Avandia does reduce A1cs, so it does definitely improve blood sugar. There is also some evidence that it does preserve beta-cell function better than other drugs like metformin.

Your comment about growing new fat cells is also wrong. WhatAvandia seems to do is to move fat cells from the abdomen elsewhere. Since its well known that visceral fat contributes to diabetes, that may be how Avandia operates.

The drug does have side effects. That is undisputed, and which is why it should be considered a 2nd or 3rd line treatment. However, it does seem to have benefits as well.

While I'm no big fan of the drug companies, there will be no new drugs on the market or drugs will cost $1000 a pop if we wanted to remove all drugs

Jenny said...

So how about backing up your statements.

The statements I made about Avandia are all backed up by research studies you can read in full on my main site.

Avandia does NOT regrow beta cells, and it does not move cells from the abdomen elsewhere. Both of these ideas were promoted by the drug company early in the marketing of the drug because the hip/waist ratio improved in their subjects.

However, they were contradicted by research findings. Biopsy of fat deposits of people taking these drugs discovered Avandia grows new fat on the thighs and arms and the hip waist ratio improves ONLY because the hips are getting bigger.

As usual, people read the drug company PR, but not the research findings that contradict their claims.

Jason Ventura said...

THIS DRUG KILLED We didn't know any risks that would affect her. In July of 2005 she had ZERO signs of any heart related illnesses. However her Death Certificate on May 10th 2007 states that she died of complications due to Heart Disease. I need answers and no one is willing to help me. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE if you can help me make people more aware of the Killer Drug Avandia, I would be so greatful. MY GRANDMA!

Anna said...

Have you seen this?

Looks like a lot of looking in the wrong direction and making the wrong conclusions to me, such as assuming that it is fat in the diet causing the infertility because the study subjects are obese. But if Avandia has a benefit, perhaps it isn't dietary fat but a glucose metabolism issue?

Anonymous said...

It;s been known for quite a while that Avandia can cause resumption of ovulation in women. No big surprise there.