This was a bad month for Actos (Takeda-Rly Lilly) and Avandia (Glaxo), another good month for metformin.
As indicated in this week’s NEJM, the glitazone class of drugs sold commercially as Avandia and Actos, has now belatedly been suspended, restricted or black boxed by the European – EU and the USA- FDA- regulators (after shocking prevarication pandering to Big Pharma), because of promoting heart failure, let alone visual loss- macular oedema, osteoporosis fractures, fatal hepatitis (troglitazone deaths), and adiposity –weight gain and cancer.; with consequently and unsurprisingly no significant reduction in all-cause mortality ..
Regulators like our own MCC must now surely suspend ie ban the current glitazone drugs in view of the long-accumulating list of their serious adverse effects and related deaths.. There never was or is compelling clinical reason for their prescription any more than there is or was allowing eg the soon- banned Mandrax, Ponderax, practolol, stilbestrol, cerivastatin or the original glitazone troglitazone Rezulin on the market.
The current glitazones have been in use scarely a decade; and are not necessary let alone essential since:
-metformin remains the best drug ever discovered against all major common degenerative diseases including type 2 diabetes and overweight, with zero serious adverse effects in the longest (20year) randomized controlled trial ever conducted,
– with 1/3 reduction in all mortality and major chronic degenerative disease, halving of heart attacks in type 2 diabetics due to metformin’s unique combination in titrated clinical use of antioxidant, anti-lipidemic, vasodilator antihypertensive, anticancer, anti-aging, appetite- and adiposity-controlling, anti-hepatitis, antimicrobial, insulin-sensitizing, pro-fertility and fibrinolytic benefits, protecting all organ systems;
and at least halving of new diabetes in major preventative trials in “prediabetics” on four continents; and provided the dose of metformin is simply started low- at most 250mg/day
– and provided the starter dose is titrated weekly up to comfortable safe tolerance and desired effect- as must naturally be done with all chronic drugs.
In contrast to the glitazones, the latest studies October 2010 by Evans ea from Tayside Scotland and by MacDonald ea in the UK as a whole, showed that compared to sulphonylurea and other antidiabetics, metformin alone or combined with sulphonylurea in +-75year old diabetics with congestive heart failure lowered all-cause mortality by 41% after 1 years and by about 30% longterm – the same outcome as in the UKPDS trial 30year followup.
From France Mouchiroud ea Sept 2010 discuss why global lifespan has risen from about 46 to 65years accross the 20th century, and how metformin (as dietary restriction mimetic) shares with rapamycin and resveratrol the slowing-down of age-related diseases. And Li ea Sept 2010 show in experimental stroke in rats how chronic prevention with metformin was neuroprotective via nitric oxide.
A careful population study in USA by Wertz ea Sept 2010 could find no difference in the 4.15% incidence of heart attack, heartfailure or death in rosglitazone or pioglitazone users aged 18years or older; and a careful study by Kaiser Permanente Sept 2010 of all published glitazone trials confirms Pubmed search, that after ten years of massive marketing trials and massive unjustified use, there is still no evidence that the glitazones reduce all-cause mortality as metformin does, nor statistically reduce the primary usual glitazone trial endpoint of major cardiovascular event or death.
How can glitazones have such benefits of metformin when glitazones are not dietary restriction mimetics but actually increase adipocytes and thus obesity and hence cancer?
Instead of protecting drug companies’ and their lobbyists’ interests, will the Regulators everywhere, including the “experts” at the Universities – medical schools- now act against these unnecessary, risky, fattening antidiabetic glitazones to protect patients?
Or will the leading medical schools and governments continue ruthlessly to put their massive monetary support from Big Pharma ahead of truth, evidence and patients’ interests?