Avandia is primarily used to help people with type 2 diabetes control blood sugar levels. Marketed by GlaxoSmithKline, regulators in Europe have banned the sales and use of Avandia. In the U.S., the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) only permits use in cases where every other diabetes medication has failed.
If Avandia harmed you or a loved one, Burnetti, P.A.’s affiliated drug litigation attorneys may be able to help. Avandia, also prescribed under the generic name rosiglitazone, was once the largest selling diabetes drug in the world. GlaxoSmithKline, the makers of Avandia, made over $5 billion in sales. Several years after the drug was brought to market, regulators confirmed extensive dangers associated with the drug. Upon learning of the potential harm, fewer doctors prescribed Avandia. This led to a decline in sales and less profit for GlaxoSmithKline.
Internal documents obtained by The New York Times showed that GlaxoSmithKline knew Avandia could be dangerous but tried to prevent the information from becoming public knowledge so that they would lose less money. According to the article, one obtained document showed that when the company attempted to quantify how much money they would lose if Avandia’s cardiovascular safety risk intensified, the amount from 2002 to 2004 alone would be $600 million. The study results showed that GlaxoSmithKline knew that Avandia could pose a greater risk for heart problems than other diabetes medications. In addition to heart problems, patients prescribed Avandia may also experience:
Back pain Blurred vision Chest pain or heavy feeling with pain spreading to arm or shoulder Diarrhea Easy bruising or bleeding Fatigue (weakness/tiredness) General ill feeling Jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) Headache Hyperglycemia (elevated blood sugar) Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) Increased risk of heart failure or heart attacks Increased thirst or hunger Increased urination Loss of appetite Low fever Mild to moderate accumulation of fluid (edema) Nausea Pale skin Shortness of breath Sinusitis Sweating Swelling or rapid weight gain Stomach pain Upper respiratory tract infections
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Diabetics face high risks of cardiovascular disease, heart attacks, and sudden cardiac death; taking Advandia has been proven to increase these risks. In 2007, the heart risks from taking Avandia first became public knowledge when a study from a cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic was released. To conduct the study, the cardiologist used information the manufacturing company was forced by a lawsuit to post on its own website.
After this study was announced, GlaxoSmithKline officials admitted they had known of the drug’s potential heart attack risks since at least 2005, although other documents indicate that they had known about the potential for heart problems as soon as the drug was introduced in 1999.