GlaxoSmithKline’s Avandia and Takeda Pharmaceutical’s Actos are in the news again, after reports that people taking the drugs may have an increased risk for developing a severe eye disease. A new study revealed that patients using these drugs as a treatment for diabetes are 3 to 6 times more likely to develop diabetic macular edema, which is a condition that can lead to blindness.

The study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Diabetes Association, follows a June 16 warning issued by the Food and Drug Administration, in which the agency announced that patients taking the diabetes drug, Actos, are at increased risk for bladder cancer. Additionally, the FDA also announced in May that Avandia will be pulled from retail pharmacy shelves by November due to reports the drug increases the risk for heart attacks.

According to the National Eye Institute, diabetic eye disease is the most common cause of blindness in working-age Americans. The most effective way to prevent many of the serious problems associated with diabetes is for patients to be diligent about controlling their blood sugar. High-risk patients include those who fail to properly manage their blood sugar levels, as well as those with a previous history of macular edema.


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