Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Don't Take New Drugs

That's my take-away from this bit of news:

"The use of frequently prescribed diabetes drug Avandia will be severely restricted in the U.S., the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced Thursday. The European Medicines Agency announced the same day that it will remove the pharmaceutical from that region's market altogether. The new regulations will be set in place over the coming few months.

"Findings that the drug, also known as rosiglitazone, increased the risk of heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problems have been surfacing over the years. A 2007 meta-analysis published in The New England Journal of Medicine, found "significant increase in the risk of myocardial infarction" and of death from other heart-related issues. A government investigation into Avandia-maker GlaxoSmithKline's records showed that the pharmaceutical company had been trying to hide its evidence that the drug might be less safe than the competitor Actos. Based on these findings and other evidence, an FDA advisory panel recommended in July that Avandia be limited."

Since long-term testing is effectively not done on new drugs, that makes you the guinea pig. If your comfortable with that, that's OK, but be informed.

If you must use a drug, prefer one that's been on the market for a long time, if possible. That way you won't be subject to unpleasant surprises.

Ideally, don't take any drugs. But that's not always practical.