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A Bad Day for Diabetes Drugs: Avandia and taspoglutide

A Bad Day for Diabetes Drugs: Avandia and taspoglutide

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It's a dismal day for diabetes drugs, with new research showing that Avandia raises the risks for heart disease and stroke and problematic side effects reported for taspoglutide, an experimental diabetes drug from Roche that was expected to be a huge seller.  

The Washington Post's Rob Stein reports on Avandia:

One analysis, involving more than 35,500 patients, found Avandia significantly raises the chances of a heart attack. The second, a federal analysis of more than 227,500 Medicare patients - the largest such study to date - found the drug boosts the risk for strokes, heart failure and death.

Taken together, the new research, released Monday, should prompt the Food and Drug Administration to remove the drug from the market, according to the researchers who led the analyses and several drug-safety advocates.

And here's an excerpt from Wall St. Journal reporter Goran Mijuk's story on Roche's taspoglutide travails:

Roche Holding AG's hopes to bring a potential blockbuster diabetes drug to market have dropped further after the Swiss pharma giant released detailed late-stage trial figures, showing the medicine's side effects could reduce chances for regulatory approval, analysts said Monday.

Although some analysts said the fresh data was convincing, "the full data presentation suggest that taspoglutide's side-effect profile may be worse," said Annie Cheng, pharma analyst at brokerage Bryan, Garnier & Co. Due to this data, "we are lowering our estimated success probability for taspoglutide to 10% from 60%," she said.

Surprisingly, Reuters presented a much more positive take on the taspoglutide data.

In other, more positive news coming out of the American Diabetes Association's conference in Orlando, researchers have found that improving school food, boosting exercise and promoting health behavior changes can help middle school students maintain a normal weight and reduce their risk for diabetes.

The shaky prospects for some diabetes drugs might prompt more attention to lifestyle changes, so it's worth covering what's happening with diabetes prevention programs in your community. Share your stories and thoughts in the comments below.

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