Avandia to be available only by mail order in November, FDA asserts

SILVER SPRING, Md. — A controversial GlaxoSmithKline drug for treating Type 2 diabetes no longer will be available through retail pharmacies as of Nov. 18, the Food and Drug Administration announced Wednesday.

Avandia (rosiglitazone) and such related drugs as Avandaryl (rosiglitazone and glimepiride) and Avandamet (rosiglitazone and metformin) will be available only by mail order from specially certified pharmacies and for certain patients, such as those already successfully treated with the drug and those who can’t control their blood sugar with other diabetes drugs and don’t want to use other drugs belonging to the same class as Avandia.

The drug has attracted controversy due to studies showing that it increases the risk of heart attacks in patients taking it. In September 2010, the FDA moved to restrict access to the drug as part of a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy.

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