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Avandia Safe...For Now

Dr. Kaveh Ehsanipoor won't recommend Avandia to his patients. Dr. Kaveh Ehsanipoor won't recommend Avandia to his patients.

Despite all the controversy surrounding the diabetes drug Avandia, a Federal Food and Drug Administration advisory panel believes Avandia is still safe for patients to use.

The vote came despite evidence that the drug can increase a patient's risk for a heart attack. While the FDA panel agreed Avandia can cause an increase risk for a heart attack, they are recommending to keep the diabetes drug on the market.

But no matter what the FDA ultimately decides, Dr. Kaveh Ehsanipoor won't recommend it to his patients. "I personally do not use it," he stated emphatically.

Dr. Ehsanipoor is the director of endocrinology at Memorial Health. He has very few patients on Avandia and usually prescribes another drug with the same effectiveness called Actose. It doesn't carry the same risk factors as Avandia. "I'm not going to write any medicine for a disease that increases the risk if I have an alternative," Dr. Ehsanipoor said.

The main issue over the drug is its increase risk for a heart attack. While Avandia does pose some threat and does have a warning on the label, no one is sure how much of a threat it is. "The FDA thought, the advisory committee thought, the risk is not that high to remove it. They didn't say there's no risk, they said the risk isn't high enough," explained Dr. Ehsanipoor.

But that's not comforting for patients like Kibbie Cowart. He's been a diabetic for eight years and was on Avandia for four years before his doctor took him off  the drug. He's been following the controversy closely and is still concerned what the drug may have already done to his body. "I've wondered if it's damaged anything," said Cowart.

He hopes the FDA will end up taking Avandia off the market for good. Despite the panel's recommendation, the final decision on whether to keep Avandia on on the market will come from FDA officials. Usually, they follow the panels recommendation. No word yet on when that decision will be made.

For more information about Avandia and the FDA, see FDA Concerns Over Popular Diabetes Drug.

Reported by: Melanie A. Ruberti, mruberti@wtoc.com

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