Thursday, May 15, 2008

Avandia May Help Prevent Progression of Blockages After Heart Surgery!

It is not uncommon that a drug that is effective in treating one disease may end up a culprit that triggers another unwanted medical condition. Avandia, a diabetes drug, is a good example.

During May 2007, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that Avandia was found to raise the risk of a heart attack by 43 percent. This set off a stream of controversy, and even forced the regulators to require Avandia carry strong warnings about the heart attack risks.

However, a new study indicated that Avandia might prove to be effective in preventing the progression of blockages after heart surgery.

The study, dubbed “Victory”, was carried out by researchers from Laval University and Hospital Laval in Quebec City, evaluated the benefit and safety of the drug, genetically known as rosiglitazone, in preventing atherosclerosis progression in patients with Type-2 diabetes 1 to 10 years after surgery. Their findings were presented on April 1, 2008 at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago.

The researchers also examined the metabolic effect of the drug. As such, the researchers claimed that this is the first study to look at the cardiovascular and metabolic affects of the drug. 193 patients at 8 centers in Canada and Spain were evaluated and the trial concluded there were no adverse events. Results also showed that the weight gain in patients was subcutaneous fat, not abdominal fat, which is more dangerous.

Although “Victory” is only a moderate size trial, its results provide reassurance about the safety of rosiglitazone. Rosiglitazone has been under strong attack because of the heart attack risk when comparing with Pioglitazone, the other glitazone compound. Pioglitazone, is sold as Actos in the United States and Glustin in Europe.

Other studies that involve a larger number of patients are also evaluating Avandia and the findings will further define its role in patients with Type-2 diabetes and coronary disease.

Over the next 10 years, it is expected that the number of patients with Type-2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, and coronary disease will increase dramatically.

Each year, more than 500,000 patients with Type-2 diabetes undergo coronary artery bypass grafts and most will have one or more bypasses using a vein taken from the leg. Sad to say, the grafts of 50 percent of the patients become re-obstructed after 10 years.

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