"May increase risk of a heart attack." That's a warning printed on the labels of many prescription drugs including one controversial diabetes drug.
One medical journal claims that diabetes drug Avandia is doing more harm than good to patients. But the Food and Drug Administration voted on July 30 to keep Avandia on the market, and one Bowling Green doctor says they've done the right thing.
Dr. Paul Cofoid has been prescribing Avandia to his patients at the Graves Gilbert Clinic for years. Until recently, Avandia was a trusted name for six-million people with Type 2 diabetes.
"It's one of the drugs that sensitizes the body to insulin and helps treat diabetes," Cofoid said.
But a May medical journal reported that the drug causes a 43-percent higher risk of heart attack. It was enough warning to make sales drop by 31-percent for Avandia, a drug otherwise known as Rosieglitizone.
"Are there benefits to Roseyglitizone to continue it's distribution?" FDA Representative David Graham asked. "The answer is no."
But the Food and Drug Administration disagrees. After a vote by the panel, the FDA concluded that Avandia will stay available to patients.
"Roseyglitizone does not increase risk of cardiovascular mortality in diabetes patients," replied Avandia Representative Ronald Krall.
Though Dr. Cofoid agrees with the FDA's decision, he understands the concern of his patients and he is offering up an alternative.
"There's another medication called Actos. It has no data currently showing it causes heart attacks," Cofoid said.
But above all, Dr. Cofoid advises to consult a doctor before making any changes in medication.
"Right now, I'm just encouraging my patients who are doing well to stay on it," he said.
Avandia's manufacturer says that the results of the controversial study in May were "inconsistent" and "inconclusive."
The manufacturer adds that Avandia is no worse than any other diabetes drugs when concerning heart risk.