A new study published in the
Archives of Internal Medicine reveals that the class of diabetes drugs known as thiazolidinediones (including Actos and Avandia) can increase the risk of patients developing macular edema (swelling in the central part of the retina, potentially leading to blindness in one or both eyes). The study author recommends that any patients being treated with these medications be given regular eye exams to monitor for this condition.
The study was conducted by Dr. Iskandar Idris, a diabetes and endocrinology consultant at Sherwood Forest Hospitals Foundation Trust. In it, he followed 103,000 individuals with Type 2 diabetes for almost 10 years. The results proved that patients who were taking Actos or Avandia were two or three times more likely to develop macular edema than those taking other medications. Approximately 1.3% of patients being treated with a thiazolidinedione developed the eye condition, compared with 0.2% of the remaining study population. When the medications were combined with insulin use, which is a common practice among Type 2 diabetes patients, the risks were further elevated.
On the other hand, the study found that patients who took ACE inhibitors (blood pressure lowering medications) while on Actos or Avandia reduced their risk of developing macular edema. In general, the study found, lowering blood pressure and keeping glucose levels stable helped combat the risk of vision problems associated with these medications.
It is still unclear how or why Actos and Avandia can damage the retina, although Dr. Idris speculates that it may have something to do with sodium and fluid retention and or changes in the blood vessels caused by these medications. What is clear, however, is that the risk of developing this sight-threatening condition increases steadily as long as patients are taking Actos or Avandia.
The risk of developing macular edema is just one of the negative effects associated with this class of diabetes drugs. Patients taking Actos are also at greater risk of developing bladder cancer, while patients on Avandia have a higher risk of developing serious heart problems, strokes and even increased mortality rates.
Patients who have experienced serious negative side effects like vision loss, heart failure or cancer while taking Actos or Avandia may be entitled to compensation for their injuries, medical expenses and/or pain and suffering. The experienced pharmaceutical injury attorneys at Arnold & Itkin offer free consultations to individuals considering filing an Actos or Avandia injury claim. Contact our office today to begin your confidential conversation.