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Expert Panel Finds Avandia Increases Risk for Heart Attack

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Washington, DCA panel of federal health experts convened to determine the risk/benefit of GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes medication Avandia, has found the risks associated with the medication are greater than those seen with older medications and its closest competitor drug, Actos. They say that Avandia increases the risk of heart attack compared to other drugs, AP and Reuters report.

The federal Food and Drug Administration will decide over the coming months whether or not take Avandia off the market, however they do not have to follow the expert panel's recommendations.

The 33-member panel, made up of scientific experts, sat through two days of conflicting opinion and reviewed hundreds of pages of data in coming to their decision.

The safety of Avandia has been under debate since 2007, when the FDA placed warnings on the drug packaging stating that some data show an association between Avandia and heart attack risk. An advisory panel was also convened in 2007 to review the data, but voted 22-1 in favor of keeping the drug on the market.

The current advisory panel will vote late Wednesday on recommendations ranging from keeping the drug on the market, to urging it be removed completely. Also under consideration is the option to leave it on the market but strengthen the warnings.

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