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The FDA has issued a safety alert for the diabetes drug Avandia. The drug has been on the market for eight years and is used world wide. Avandia is manufactured by Glaxo. A study appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine that linked the drug with an increased rate of heart attack and death.

The adverse drug reaction database has received approximately 28 Canadian reports of heart attacks in patients using Avandia since 2000 but “the causal nature of the association of these adverse events with Avandia has not been determined,” Health Canada said.

More than six million people worldwide have taken the drug since it came on the market eight years ago. Pooled results of dozens of studies revealed a 43 per cent higher risk of heart attack, according to the review published by the New England Journal of Medicine.

Patients are urged to speak with their doctors before they stop taking the drug. Glaxo is defending Avandia saying they have not had the same results in their own studies.

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