The popular prescription diabetes drug Avandia will only be available in
very limited distribution as of November 18, 2011. Avandia has been on
the market for more than a decade, but a 2007 study indicated that it
increased heart attack risk in patients with type 2 diabetes by about
40 percent. Also in 2007 David Graham, a drug safety expert with the Food
and Drug Administration (FDA), reported that Avandia had caused heart-related
problems in 66,000-200,000 people.
The drug will be available only to patients who have had safe and effective
treatment with the drug and to those whose conditions cannot be managed
with other drugs. It will also be available to those who are aware of
the risk yet still want to take Avandia. Only certified doctors will be
able to prescribe Avandia, and the prescriptions can only be filled by
particular pharmacies via mail order.
Critics say the FDA took too long implementing the new restrictions. For
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