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Rosiglitazone Linked to Heart Risks in Elderly Diabetics

Rosiglitazone patients more likely to develop congestive heart failure than those taking pioglitazone

TUESDAY, Nov. 25 (HealthDay News) -- Elderly diabetic patients prescribed rosiglitazone are at increased risk of all-cause mortality and congestive heart failure compared with those taking pioglitazone, researchers report in the Nov. 24 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer, M.D., of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted a study of 28,361 diabetes mellitus patients over 65 years of age, of whom 50.3 percent were treated with pioglitazone while 49.7 percent were treated with rosiglitazone. The two groups had similar baseline characteristics.

In all, 1,869 patients died during 29,060 person-years of follow-up, and there was a 15 percent greater risk of mortality among patients being treated with rosiglitazone versus those being treated with pioglitazone, the investigators found. The patients in the former group were also 13 percent more likely to develop congestive heart failure, the researchers report. However, rates of myocardial infarction and stroke were the same for both groups, the report indicates.

"This study confirms the safety concerns that have been raised for rosiglitazone compared with pioglitazone, which, in turn, also cannot be considered a very safe drug given its well-documented effect on the risk of congestive heart failure," the authors write.

This study was partially funded by Amgen, Fresenius Medical Care and GlaxoSmithKline. Authors of the study report financial relationships with the pharmaceutical industry.

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