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Popular Diabetes Drug Avandia Linked to Dangerous Side Effects

Whitney | October 17th, 2012

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The incidence of type II diabetes is on the rise, along with increased need for diabetes medication. However, the potential side effects of some medications may far outweigh the benefits of the drug. In fact, the history of some of these drugs indicate that a diabetic diet may be a safer and more effective option for keeping the disease in check.

Drugs, diabetic diet … or both?

One case in point is Avandia, a medication highly touted for its ability to sensitize the body to insulin. Unfortunately, the drug was quickly linked to a number of potentially deadly side effects, including heart attack, stroke and bone fractures. Avandia has now been pulled from pharmacy shelves and is only available through a special government program.

Dr. Michael Kaplan, founder and chief medical officer for The Center for Medical Weight Loss, has seen firsthand that the right diabetes diet for weight loss can take the place of medication in some patients.

“We see diabetic patients all the time who lose weight and no longer need insulin,” Dr. Kaplan explained in regard to reversing diabetes through a doctor-supervised diet and exercise program. “When patients lose five to 10 percent of their body weight, it is a given that they will reduce their blood sugar significantly; many no longer need medication.”

History of Avandia

Avandia was first introduced as a replacement to Rezulin, which was pulled from the market in 2000 due to reports of severe liver failure associated with the drug. The drug was designed to work in conjunction with a pre diabetes diet, to help the body regulate insulin absorption.

Reports of serious side effects with Avandia also began to surface as the drug was widely prescribed to patients with type II diabetes. Common complaints were congestive heart failure, liver toxicity, bone fractures and stroke.

By 2007, the FDA had issued a black box warning for Avandia, stating the drug could increase the risk of heart attacks in some users. The drug was pulled by the FDA in 2010. It is now only available to patients who are unable to control their diabetic condition any other way.

Lawsuits against Avandia manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline continue to be settled. It is estimated that the company will pay out more than $6 billion in settlements by the time all the outstanding cases are settled.

The Best Diabetes Diets

Medication may play an important role in managing diabetes, or in helping pre diabetes patients stave off the full-blown disease, but a healthy diabetic diet plan can also keep disease symptoms in check.

The Center for Medical Weight Loss works with patients at risk of the disease, creating a diabetes diet plan and exercise program customized to each individual’s needs and lifestyle. Thousands of people who have successfully lost weight through the program were also able to reverse their diabetes, and stop taking their medication.

Right now, there are more than 450 centers nationwide to help patients lose weight and keep their diabetes in check. Enter your zip code in the box at the right to find a center near you. Introductory offers are available for first-time visitors at select locations.