Diabetes drug pulled off SA market

2011-07-06 00:00

MEDICATION containing rosiglitazone is being withdrawn from the South African market because of safety risks, South Africa’s Medicines Control Council announced yesterday.

The medication cited as containing rosiglitazone is Avandia, which is used in the treatment of diabetes mellitus type 2, formerly known as adult-onset diabetes or non-insulin dependent mellitus.

The council said in a statement that rosiglitazone is associated with an increased risk of adverse cardiovascular events, including heart failure and heart attacks.

It said several countries in Europe and the UK have withdrawn products containing rosiglitazone.

No new prescriptions for medicines with rosiglitazone will be allowed.

Fidel Hadebe of the Medicines Control Council said patients on rosiglitazone products should consult their doctors about the management of their diabetes.

“Patients who are concerned about their safety risks should not stop their treatment abruptly, but should contact a healthcare practitioner supervising their diabetic treatment.”

He said the switch to other suitable treatment should be completed within three months of the date of this statement.

Pharmacist Manesh Ramphal of Burger Street Pharmacy said the withdrawal, which mainly involves Avandia, will not have much impact.

“In the last two years I have probably prescribed the medication once; it is quite an unpopular kind.”

He said other medicines to treat that variety of diabetes are more popular than Avandia.

“Avandia is mainly prescribed by a specialist under special circumstances.”

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