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Avandia suspended after stroke risk

A commonly used diabetics drug which could potentially increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks should not be given to new patients, a regulator has said.

It has been decided that Avandia's benefits no longer outweigh the risks it poses to patients.

The ruling was made by the European Medicines Agency's (EMA) committee on medicinal products for human use.

The EMA said that while the drug was suspended no further prescriptions should be given out and marketing of the product should cease immediately.

Professor Kent Woods, Chief Executive of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), said: "Patient safety is the top priority for the MHRA and we have been constantly monitoring the situation regarding rosiglitazone."

He said patients currently receiving the drug should have their treatment plans reviewed and changed where appropriate.

In a separate ruling, the US Food and Drug Administration said access to the pill should also be restricted.

It ruled new patients would only get a prescription for Avandia if they could not control their diabetes with other medications.

The drug was once the top-selling diabetes pill in the world but use plummeted after a 2007 analysis linked it to heart attack risks.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which produces the drug, said the company continue to believe it is an important treatment.

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