17 Feb 2011

Diabetes medicine withdrawn over safety fears

1:33 pm on 17 February 2011

A drug used to treat Type 2 diabetes is being withdrawn because of concerns it causes a higher risk of heart problems in patients.

Avandia is taken by about 100 people in New Zealand and is not publicly funded.

The drug will be withdrawn in April but Medsafe is urging people who take it to talk to their doctor before they come off it.

Doctors are being asked not to prescribe Avantia to any new patients.

The European Medicines Agency has already suspended the use of Avandia because of an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes.

America's Food and Drug Administration has restricted access to the drug.

Medsafe group manager Dr Stewart Jessamine says people with diabetes are more likely to have heart problems but the risks of Avandia are too great.