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New Type 2 Diabetes Drug Hits Market

Avandaryl Is a Combination Diabetes Drug to Help Control Blood Sugar
By
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Feb. 1, 2006 -- A new drug cuts down on the number of pills people with type 2 diabetes must take to control their blood sugar.

The drug, called Avandaryl, combines two other diabetes drugs -- Avandia and Amaryl -- to help improve control of blood sugar. It is the first fixed-dose tablet combining these two different classes of diabetes medications.

The drug is just now becoming available after being approved in November 2005. Diet and exercise are also recommended for patients taking Avandaryl, states the drug's maker, GlaxoSmithKline, in a news release.

More than 20 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. About 90% to 95% of those people have type 2 diabetes, according to 2005 statistics from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a branch of the National Institutes of Health.

Controlling blood sugar is a key part of diabetes treatment.

Safety Information

The FDA and GlaxoSmithKline recently warned doctorsFDA and GlaxoSmithKline recently warned doctors of very rare cases of new or worsening diabetic eye complications in patients taking the diabetes drugs Avandia or Avandamet, which both contain the drug rosiglitazone. The complication, called macular edema, can lead to blurry vision.

Avandaryl also contains rosiglitazone, since Avandia is one of Avandaryl's ingredients. Patients taking Avandaryl should get their eyes checked regularly by a doctor, states GlaxoSmithKline.

Other possible side effects of Avandaryl include low blood sugar, tiredness, weight gain, and swelling or fluid retention that could worsen heart failure.

Avandaryl is not approved for use with insulin. One of the drug's components, when taken with insulin, may raise the risk of other heart problems.

Blood tests should be done to check for liver problems before starting and while taking Avandaryl, states GlaxoSmithKline. Women who are pregnant, nursing, or considering pregnancy should talk to their doctor before taking Avandaryl.

"Avandaryl may increase your risk of pregnancy," states GlaxoSmith Kline's news release.

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If the level is below 70 and 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.

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