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Heart attack link to diabetes drug

Experts are trying to reassure diabetics after new research suggested a link between a common drug and the risk of heart attack.

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found a link between the diabetes Type 2 drug rosiglitazone (Avandia) and a 43 percent increased risk of heart attacks.

Matt Hunt, science information manager at Diabetes UK, said people should not panic at the findings, while the British Heart Foundation said patients must consult their doctors before stopping their medication.

The manufacturer, GlaxoSmithKline, said it "strongly disagrees" with the findings.

According to Diabetes UK, rosiglitazone is commonly prescribed as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes in the UK.

Mr Hunt said: "Glitazones are not presently recommended for people who have had, or who are at high risk of having, heart failure.

"We welcome research into the effects of rosiglitazone. However, this study, by its own admission, has limitations and the results are not conclusive.

"Any suggested link into an increased risk of death from cardiovascular complications for people taking rosiglitazone needs much more research.

"Diabetes UK strongly recommends that people with Type 2 diabetes eat a well-balanced diet and incorporate physical activity into their daily life."

More than 1.9 million people in the UK are diagnosed with Type 2 and up to 750,000 more are thought to be undiagnosed.

New England Journal of Medicine

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