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Brett Emison
Brett Emison
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Diabetes Drugs Actos & Avandia May Cause Vision Loss

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I have written before about how the diabetes drug Actos doubles the risk of bladder cancer. Avandia has been linked to heart attack risks. Now, new reports suggest that both Actos and its competitor Avandia may increase the risk of eye and vision problems.

The study, Association Between Thiazolidinedione Treatment and Risk of Macular Edema Among Patients With Type 2 Diabetes, was published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, part of the Journal of the American Medical Association network.

The study suggests both Avandia and Actos may increase the risk of macular edema – or swelling of the central part of the retina – which can result in vision problems and blindness.

The study followed more than 100,000 patients for nearly a decade. Those using either Actos or Avandia had 2 to 3 times higher risk of macular edema. Combining these drugs with an insulin regimen (a common practice for diabetes patients) heightened the risk of vision problems further.

Because of the risks, the study authors recommend patients using either Actos or Avandia get routine visual screenings during diabetes review treatments.

"More aggressive management of risk factors for macular edema should be implemented in patients who take thiazolidinedione. In addition, routine screening for visual acuity should be performed during routine diabetes review, especially for patients who take thiazolidinediones," said lead researcher Iskandar Idris.

A co-author of the study noted the study adds weight to the concern that Avandia and Actos may cause fluid buildup behind the eyes.

[More on Actos]

[More on Avandia]

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