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A study published on Tuesday, September 11, found that Actos, a type 2 diabetes drug, reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke and death, but may raise the risk of heart failure. According to another study, Avandia, another diabetes drug, increases the risk of heart attack and heart failure significantly.

Actos lowered the risk of heart attack, stroke and overall death by 18 percent, while Avandia was found to increase the risk of heart attack by 42 percent. Avandia also more than doubled the risk of heart failure in patients who took the drug for at least a year.

“What we can say about pioglitazone (Actos) is not only does it not have the detrimental effect that has been seen with rosiglitazone (Avandia), but it actually has a protective effect,” stated Dr. Michael Lincoff of the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

Both Actos and Avandia are in a class called thiazolidinediones, or glitazones, which help the body use insulin more effectively. They are among several classes of drugs that treat type-2 diabetes, which affects 194 million people worldwide.

According to Dr. Bob Spanheimer of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, this new information about Actos “gives physicians and patients confidence that they can use Actos for treating high blood sugar and insulin resistance,”

Both of the drugs already hold “black box” warnings on their labels that state that these drugs may cause or worsen congestive heart failure. The study shows that even though Actos may not be entirely safe, its side effects are not as detrimental as Avandia’s.

For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.

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