Since its introduction to the market in 1999, Avandia has been a popular prescription drug to assist those with type 2 diabetes. Used to control blood sugar levels, it is one of a group of medications called “insulin sensitizers.” Because Avandia is designed to promote insulin sensitivity and control blood sugar, it is not recommended for patients with type 1 diabetes or type 2 patients who are insulin dependent.
The most common and most talked about side effects of Avandia for many years were very mild and included such symptoms as headaches or coughs. In recent years, however, research has shown that Avandia is associated much more dangerous side effects that may even be fatal.
In fact, evidence shows that while Avandia’s manufacturers claimed that it only caused the mildest side effects that they were aware of a much larger issue. Avandia is strongly associated with an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack)
Side Effects Associated With Taking Avandia
In addition to increased risk of heart attack, Avandia is also associated with a number of other potentially harmful side effects, including but not limited to:
- Rapid weight gain
- Shortness of breath after only a mild exertion
- Chest pain, which may spread to the shoulder and arm
- Sweatiness and general feeling of illness
- Stomach pain and/or nausea
- Loss of appetite
- Low-grade fever
- Clay-colored stool
- Discolored urine
- Frequent urination
- Increased hunger and/or thirst
- Blurred vision
- Easy bruising
- Weakness in muscles and joints
Patients who suffer any or all of these symptoms should seek medical attention immediately and talk to their doctors about whether or not they should continue using Avandia. It is never recommended to cease medication without consulting your doctor first unless you are exhibiting allergic reactions, such as a swollen throat, hives, fever, etc.
Frequency of Heart Attacks in Avandia Patients
While a small increase of risk for heart attack may be manageable for some patients, especially with proper exercise and diet, an increase of 30-40% is unheard of. According to one study, almost 50,000 patients prescribed Avandia suffered heart attacks, heart failure, stroke, and/or death between 1999 and 2009.
How does Avandia increase patients’ risk of developing heart problems? While Avandia is effective at reducing insulin resistance to keep the body’s blood sugar at even levels, it is also known to increase water retention, as well. This, in turn, is known to increase the risk of developing congestive heart failure.
Thanks to issues with Avandia and other drugs of its kind, the FDA is changing its stance on approving diabetes medications. To gain approval, a pharmaceutical company must now not only prove that a drug effectively manages blood sugar, but the drug must also undergo rigorous clinical trials over a two-year period before it can be approved and considered safe to prescribe to patients. Likewise, drug regulators in Europe are taking similar steps to protect patients from increased risks of fatality due to diabetes medications like Avandia.
If you or someone you love has suffered heart failure, a heart attack, or any other injury or trauma due to the use of Avandia for type 2 diabetes, then you may be owed compensation for damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, medical bills, lost wages, and others. To discuss your case and get a better understanding of what you may be owed, call our office today to schedule a free consultation and case analysis or fill out our online contact form and someone will respond promptly.