Skip to content

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size
A
A
A

Many Type 2 Diabetics Looking for a New Drug


WebMD Health News

March 22, 2000 (New York) -- Phones are ringing off the hook in doctor's offices across the country as the approximately 500,000 type 2 diabetics who currently take the drug Rezulin wonder what to do now that the drug has been pulled from the market.

After being asked by the FDA, Warner-Lambert/Parke-Davis voluntarily agreed Tuesday to withdraw Rezulin, its highly controversial type 2 diabetes drug, due to reports of severe liver damage. The FDA made its request because patients now have safer alternatives in the same class of drugs. Nine months of data show that these alternatives, Avandia (rosiglitazone) and Actos (pioglitazone), have the same benefits as Rezulin -- without the risks.

Part of a class of diabetes drugs known as 'glitazones,' Rezulin helps the body use its own insulin supply. It is often prescribed in conjunction with insulin. Mired in controversy from the beginning, the drug was pulled from the market in Britain in 1997 due to reports of severe liver damage. These reports prompted the FDA to require labeling changes in the U.S. urging doctors who prescribe Rezulin to monitor patient's liver changes.

"Basically, we are telling all of our patients to stop taking Rezulin and asking them to come in to take a blood test measuring their liver function to identify whether they have liver abnormalities," James Rosenzweig, MD, the associate director of adult diabetes at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, tells WebMD. He is quick to point out that most patients taking Rezulin have been getting regular blood tests all along.

"If their tests come back normal, we will switch them to another medication in the same class or in a different class," he tells WebMD. It's unfortunate, he says, that Rezulin does work well in a large number of patients.

Carol Whitty, 54, is one of those patients. Whitty was first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes about seven years ago and has been taking Rezulin for three years. Fortunately, she had an appointment scheduled with Rosenzweig this morning.

"To me," she tells WebMD. "Rezulin was a miracle drug, because it allowed me to stop taking insulin, and I had no side effects." Rosenzweig switched Whitty to Actos, and she is optimistic that the new drug will work as well as Rezulin.

Is This Normal? Get the Facts Fast!

Check Your Blood Sugar Level Now
What type of diabetes do you have?
Your gender:

Get the latest Diabetes newsletter delivered to your inbox!


or
Answer:
Low
0-69
Normal
70-130
High
131+

Your level is currently

If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Did You Know Your Lifestyle Choices
Affect Your Blood Sugar?

Use the Blood Glucose Tracker to monitor
how well you manage your blood sugar over time.

Get Started

This tool is not intended for women who are pregnant.

Start Over

Step:  of 

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
 
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
 
Woman serving fast food from window
Video
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Video
 
Middle aged person
Tool
are battery operated toothbrushes really better
Video
 

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
Article
type 2 diabetes
Slideshow
 
food fitness planner
Tool
Are You at Risk for Dupuytrens Contracture
Article