July 12, 2005

CORRECTED-Avandia ok in diabetics with liver damage

(Corrects name in headline from Rosiglitazone to Avandia)

A corrected version follows

By Megan Rauscher

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Diabetic patients with
abnormally high liver enzymes are not at increased risk for
developing liver toxicity from treatment with Avandia
(rosiglitazone), results of a study indicate. Avandia "can be
safely used" in these patients, Dr. Naga Chalasani who led the
study told Reuters Health.

Avandia belongs to a class of drugs called
thiazolidinediones, which help lower blood sugar, or glucose,
in people with type 2 diabetes.

Although Avandia and a similar drug called Actos
(pioglitazone) are generally very safe from a liver standpoint,
isolated reports of liver toxicity have been reported. It is
currently recommended that Avandia be used cautiously in
diabetics with mild elevations in liver enzymes, Chalasani,
from Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis and
colleagues point out in a report in the American Journal of

Chalasani's team took a look back at the effects of Avandia
on the livers of 210 diabetics who had elevated liver enzymes
before they started the drug and in 628 diabetics with normal
baseline liver enzymes.

Compared with diabetics with normal starting liver enzymes,
those with elevated starting liver enzymes did not have a
higher incidence of mild to moderate or severe elevations in
liver enzymes, the investigators report.

This study, they conclude, provides "important information"
about the safety of Avandia in diabetic patients with elevated
liver enzymes.

SOURCE: American Journal of Gastroenterology June 2005.