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In the month since the publication of the risks associated with use of the diabetes drug Avandia reports of side effects to the federal government have tripled.

On May 21, the New England Journal of Medicine published a report that linked Avandia and various heart related problems, and since that time, reports of heart attacks, deaths and hospitalizations have tripled, according to information obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request to the FDA. According to experts, this increased reporting demonstrates that doctors who prescribed Avandia were probably unaware of the relationship between the drug and their patients’ heart problems. Before the study, only 35 heart attacks were reported to the FDA, and after the report, 90 additional cardiac events were reported. Reports of hospitalizations likewise increased from 11 to 126.

With Avandia, the published analysis likely led to more cases being reported, said Vanderbilt University diabetes specialist Dr. Alvin C. Powers.

“Now, patients and their doctors are much more aware of the possible link between Avandia and cardiovascular disease. This is good _ this is going to help us going forward to determine whether or not this drug is safe,” he said.

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

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