Thursday, 9 August 2007

Poll says majority will not prescribe Avandia

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Avandia-maker GlaxoSmithKline might have breathed a sigh of relief after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) panel voted to keep Avandia on the market. But trust me, it is a very heavy sigh This vote was followed by the panel's official acknowledgment (20-3) the drug increases risk of heart attack in patients with type 2 diabetes.

What are the healthcare professionals saying? In a recent MedPage Today poll, only a trickle of respondents (9 percent) stated they would continue prescribing Avandia with no worries. One in four said the drug should be swept off the shelves. Per the FDA panel's recommendation, 36 percent stated they would continue treating certain patients with Avandia. But a whopping 55 percent will not write any more Avandia prescriptions. MedPage Today pointed out the current doctor strike against Avandia could crumble a bit over time. When a late May meta-analysis showed a 43 percent higher risk of heart attack for Avandia takers, a MedPage Today poll initiated shortly thereafter revealed 75 percent would not write any new prescriptions. Today, this 'no new prescriptions' number stands at a lower 55 percent.

The sages say 'time heals all wounds', but Avandia will likely be tattooed with the FDA's strictest black box warning. GlaxoSmithKline can knock on doctor doors and perform a public relations tap dance, but I doubt the Shim Sham will ever return this drug to previous sales levels. At the moment, healthcare professionals do not think so either. They see that tattoo.

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