GSK diabetes drugs may cause blindness: Canadian health officials

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Two GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) drugs used to treat Type 2 diabetes have been found to cause or worsen a serious vision impairment known as macular edema, Canadian health authorities warned yesterday.
According to a report on the Web site of Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail today, the advisory was released after GSK informed Health Canada of reports that some diabetics using Avandia (rosiglitazone maleate) and Avandamet (rosiglitazone maleate/metformin HCI) had developed the eye condition or had a pre-existing case worsen.
GSK said patients taking the tablets should not stop taking the drugs but should consult their eye specialist.
"In some cases, the visual impairment was reported to have improved or resolved following discontinuation of Avandia or Avandamet," GSK said in a letter to health professionals posted on Health Canada's drug and health products Web site.
In the letter, GSK warns doctors that Avandia and Avandamet "should be used with caution in patients with a pre-existing diagnosis of macular edema or diabetic retinopathy."
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