From: Reuters
Published April 1, 2008 02:14 PM

Avandia may help keep arteries clear after surgery

CHICAGO (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc's controversial diabetes drug Avandia, that was linked to increased heart attack risk, may prove to be effective in preventing the progression of blockages after heart surgery to repair narrowing arteries, researchers said on Tuesday.

The study, dubbed Victory and presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Chicago, included 193 patients at eight centers in Canada and Spain.

It evaluated the benefit and safety of the drug, generically known as rosiglitazone, in preventing atherosclerosis progression in patients with type-2 diabetes one to 10 years after surgery.

"Rosiglitazone proved to be safe and was not associated with adverse effects," Dr. Oliver Bertrand, assistant professor at Laval University in Quebec City, said in a statement.

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Other studies involving a larger number of patients are also evaluating this drug and will further define its role in patients with type-2 diabetes and coronary disease, he added.

The number of patients with type-2 diabetes, the most common form of diabetes, and coronary disease is expected to increase dramatically over the next 10 years.

Today, more than 500,000 patients with type-2 diabetes undergo coronary artery bypass grafts each year and most will have one or more bypasses using a vein taken from the leg. However, in 50 percent of patients, these grafts become re-obstructed after 10 years.

"Victory is only a moderate size trial, but our results provide reassurance about the safety of rosiglitazone, which has been under fierce attack compared with pioglitazone, the other glitazone compound," he said.

Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd's pioglitazone, is sold as Actos in the United States and Glustin in Europe.

Last May, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that they had found Avandia raised the risk of a heart attack by 43 percent, setting off a storm of controversy, and eventually led to regulators requiring that Avandia carry strong warnings about the risks.

(Reporting by Debra Sherman; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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