East Texas doctor, pharmacist weigh in on diabetes drug, Avandia

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - By Morgan Chesky - bio | email | Twitter
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email | Twitter

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It is a drug that has been a lightning rod for controversy, after a report linked it to increased risk of heart attacks. But in a split decision, the FDA announced the diabetes drug Avandia will remain on the market.

You've seen the ads. You've heard the warnings. But Wednesday the FDA announced Avandia is here to stay - its benefits outweighing the potential heart problems claimed in a 2007 study by the New England Journal of Medicine.

The split decision to keep the diabetes drug on pharmacy shelves now carries over to consumers.

"They'll come in or they'll call and sometimes its as simple as, 'Should I stay on it?'" said pharmacist Jeff Abeldt.

The answer is not so simple. Almost 24 million Americans with diabetes face hundreds of treatment options, many with their own share of warnings.

"Until doctors say pull them off, I guess that means there are a lot of doctors out there that are still using it," said Abeldt.

"I get this all the time and I've got to remind patients that the scientific data shows there is no increased risk," said Dr. Luis Casas M.D.

Dr. Luis Casas prescribes and recommends Avandia, a drug he says has been wrongly portrayed.

"Unfortunately, I think in the world of media sometimes bad news makes the news and good news sometimes doesn't," he said.

Casas says the good news is a number of and those of Glaxo Smith Kline.

"All these studies address the risk of heart disease or death from heart disease using Avandia versus other diabetic drugs," said Casas.

Casas adds the negative studies were six months to one year, calling them isolated and out of context.

"I think it's very important no one go out and stop taking this medication," said Casas. "The risk of having poorly controlled diabetes by stopping a medication definitely outweighs any potential risks that they think may be present."

The Endocrine Society and the American Diabetes Association issued a joint statement says all reports of Avandia's negative cardiovascular effects have not been definitive.

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