Friday, November 19, 2010

Diabetes Drug Increases Cardiovascular Risk

Health Canada public advisory has been issued this week warning people with type 2 diabetes who are taking the drug, rosiglitazone, marketed as AVANDIA®, AVANDAMET® (contains both rosiglitazone and metformin), and AVANDARYL® (contains both rosiglitazone and glimepiride) about the increased risk of adverse cardiovascular (heart-related) events associated with the use of this medication.  Rosiglitazone is a prescription drug  that is added to the treatment regime of people with type 2 diabetes whose blood sugar has not been controlled by a combination of dietary changes, exercise, and the oral hypoglycemic agent metformin.

Rosiglitazone can cause fluid retention in the body, which can aggravate some cardiac conditions and lead to swelling, weight gain, and worst of all, heart failure. The use of rosiglitazone may be associated with an increased risk of cardiac ischemia (poor blood supply to the heart).  AVANDIA®/AVANDAMET®/AVANDARYL® are not recommended in patients with a history of ischemic heart disease. 

If you are currently taking rosiglitazone, contact your physician immediately to discuss your individual risk/benefit profile as well as other treatment options. Do not discontinue rosiglitazone therapy without  your physician's supervision. 


Type 2 diabetes is a chronic disease caused by obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and poor dietary choices. This is a lifestyle-induced epidemic, with 60,000 new cases diagnosed annually in this country (Health Canada 2005). Complications of chronic, poorly-controlled blood sugar include damage to small and large blood vessels leading to blindness, kidney failure, erectile dysfunction, ulcers and limb amputations, atherosclerosis, heart attacks and strokes. People with type 2 diabetes are also at increased risk of various types of infections. 


From a health promotion perspective, Type 2 diabetes is both PREVENTABLE and MANAGEABLE with dietary and lifestyle change if these interventions occur early enough in the disease development process. Botanical medicine and specific nutrient therapy are also helpful in managing type 2 diabetes and preventing complications. 

For your individualized type 2 diabetes prevention or treatment plan, contact your naturopathic doctor. 

Naturopathic consultations are available at the Meridian Wellness Centre by calling 519-822-7075.

-Dr. Liz 

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