Avandia Vision Problems Confirmed by New Study

While prior reports have linked the use of Avandia to vision problems, new research confirms that side effects of Avandia and Actos, another diabetes drug in the same class of medications, increase the risk of the potentially blinding condition, diabetic macular edema.

Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone) are members of a class of medications known as glitazones, which are used to treat type 2 diabetes by helping the body utilize the available amounts of insulin in a more effective manner.

Over the past two years, substantial concerns have emerged about the safety of the drugs, especially Avandia, which has been linked to an increased risk of heart attacks, congestive heart failure, liver failure, bone fractures, vision loss and death.

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Due to the mounting evidence of potentially life-threatening side effects, consumer advocacy groups have called for a recall of Avandia and many experts have questioned the rationale for continued use of the drug.

A new study published in the current issue of the American Journal of Ophthalmology provides confirmation in a very large sample of diabetics that glitazones increase the risk of vision problems. Users of the drugs were found to be 2.6 times more likely to develop diabetic macular edema, a condition in which swelling and fluid build-up in the retina, leading to progressive vision loss.

Researchers from the Southern California Permanente Medical Group analyzed a database of about 170,000 patients with diabetes and identified 996 that were diagnosed with diabetic macular edema. Even when the data was adjusted to account for other factors, diabetes patients taking Avandia and Actos were found to face a 60% higher risk of developing macular edema.

A number of Avanida vision loss lawsuits are among the thousands of cases which have been filed against GlaxoSmithKline PLC in federal and state courts throughout the United States. All federal Avandia lawsuits have been consolidated in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, where the first trials are expected to begin in the second half of 2010.


  • curtisApril 17, 2010 at 2:04 am

    I had colon cancer surgery 19 sep 06 within 12 hours I suffered congestive heart failure with blood clots in each lung and my right leg. I had a history of taking Avandia and Actos for 2 years prior to surgery. I also had vision problems for approximately 2 months until by medicine was changed. Note: I am 72 years of age.

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