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Avandia is a diabetes medication manufactured by drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. People take it to treat type-2 (adult onset) diabetes by reducing blood sugar levels. But in recent years, patients have sued the drug manufacturer, alleging that Avandia causes cardiovascular issues.

This article will:

  • Describe how Avandia should work
  • Highlight some of the health problems this diabetes drug causes
  • Summarize legal claims related to Avandia
  • Explain what to do if you or a loved one took Avandia and suffered a stroke or heart attack

What Is Avandia Supposed to Do?

Avandia (rosiglitazone) is a drug manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline to treat type-2 diabetes. The FDA approved the medication in 1999. To date, thousands of patients have benefited from the drug.

Avandia helps your body respond to the insulin your body produces naturally. This, in turn, can help reduce your blood sugar and prevent damage to your kidneys, nerves, vision, and other organs.

As with most other medications, Avandia has adverse side effects. Some of these include the following:

  • Edema (swelling of your hands, feet, and ankles)
  • Headaches
  • Weight gain
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vision problems
  • Anemia
  • Decreased appetite

Unfortunately, many patients have complained that Avandia causes more serious side effects such as heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular risks. The drug can be hazardous for people already suffering from heart disease.

As a result, many patients filed lawsuits against the drug company due to heart problems.

Does Avandia Raise the Risk of Heart Attacks?

The active ingredient in Avandia is rosiglitazone, which the FDA has classified as a thiazolidinedione drug. Some medical studies have linked rosiglitazone to an increased risk of heart attack, congestive heart failure, and stroke.

In 2007, the New England Journal of Medicine published a study that found that patients who took Avandia had an increased risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack).

In another study, medical researchers examined elderly patients with type-2 diabetes who took Avandia. They found that patients who took the drug had a higher risk of stroke and heart failure.

But just because there is medical evidence that Avandia may cause stroke and heart attack doesn't mean you're automatically entitled to compensation. Your product liability attorney must prove that the drug caused your medical issues. They also must prove that you suffered damages.

FDA Decisions About Avandia Have Changed

In 2011, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would restrict access and distribution of Avandia and other rosiglitazone drugs. The FDA also ordered the drug manufacturer to add two black box warnings to the medication's label and packaging. It based its decision on data showing an increased risk of heart attacks in patients who took rosiglitazone drugs.

Under the FDA guidelines, healthcare providers prescribing Avandia must enroll in the "Rosiglitazone Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)" program. Only pharmacies that meet special certification requirements can dispense Avandia.

In November 2013, the FDA announced it would rescind its limitations on using and distributing Avandia and other rosiglitazone drugs. The FDA cited a recent study showing that rosiglitazone didn't have an increased risk of heart attack and death compared with other type-2 diabetes drugs.

Doctors no longer have to register in REMS now that GSK has made labeling changes to the medication. Also, all pharmacies may now distribute Avandia.

Avandia Lawsuits

Thousands of patients have filed Avandia lawsuits against Glaxo. Most plaintiffs in the Avandia cases are patients who took the drug and became sick. Also, 38 state attorneys general have sued the company for defective marketing. The drug company was also criminally fined more than $242 million.

To date, GSK has settled about 700 lawsuits for $60 million. But, thousands of cases remain pending in state and federal courts. Many attorneys base these lawsuits on product liability. If successful, plaintiffs may recover damages for:

  • Lost wages
  • Medical expenses
  • Pain and suffering

Under product liability law, pharmaceutical companies, drug manufacturers, and sellers must ensure drug safety. Plaintiffs claim that GlaxoSmithKline provided defective warnings about the risk of heart attack and stroke.

What To Do if You Believe Avandia Caused Your Cardiovascular Problems

If you took the diabetes drug Avandia and developed heart disease or had a stroke or heart attack, you may have a legal claim. The best way to know is to talk to an experienced personal injury lawyer who can review your case. Contact a product liability attorney near you and schedule your free case evaluation.

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