Scottish docs call for Avandia freeze

Some doctors in Scotland want to put Avandia in cold storage. National Health Service consultants are recommending that docs stop prescribing the diabetes med to patients with heart problems, The Scotsman reports. And, the consultants said, GPs should look carefully at patients already taking the drug and stop treatment if those patients have any heart risks.

These recommendations were made to a Glasgow area drug and therapeutics committee, which meets this month. The committee intends to produce guidance for all doctors in that NHS region, Scotland's largest. One source close to the discussions told the newspaper that Avandia is likely to be put on a restricted formulary in the region, meaning that only specialists could prescribe it. In the Dumfries/Galloway region, an official said, the drug is likely to be withdrawn from the formulary completely.

These moves come after the European Medicines Agency in January recommended new warnings for the diabetes med. Avandia's safety has been under scrutiny for almost a year now, since the New England Journal of Medicine published a meta-analysis showing that it may boost the risk of heart attacks by 43 percent and cardiovascular death by 64 percent. That research quickly came under fire--meta-analyses aren't double-blind trials, after all--but it and other data have prompted restrictions on Avandia use in the U.S., Canada, and Europe.

- see the latest in The Scotsman

ALSO: Last week, a small study sponsored by Avandia maker GlaxoSmithKline appeared to show that the diabetes med slowed the progression of artery-clogging in diabetic patients who've had cardiac bypass surgery. Report

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