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Avandia and Blood Sugar

Avandia can cause low or high blood sugar levels in people taking the medication and can even cause serious or life-threatening complications. Because prevention is the best treatment, people should be aware of the possible symptoms of high and low blood sugar levels while taking Avandia. Low blood sugar can cause symptoms such as sweating, extreme hunger, and dizziness. Symptoms of high blood sugar can include nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

What Are Avandia's Effects on Blood Sugar Levels?

One of the possible side effects of Avandia® (rosiglitazone maleate) is its effect on blood sugar levels. For some people, Avandia can cause blood sugar levels to drop too low (hypoglycemia). It is also possible for blood sugar to rise too high (hyperglycemia) in people taking Avandia.
In September 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it was severely restricting the use of Avandia, due to the risk of "cardiovascular events" such as heart attacks and strokes. Only individuals who could not control their diabetes on other medications (or those who were already taking the medication and doing well) would be able to take Avandia.
However, in November 2013, the FDA announced that a careful analysis of the research suggests that there is not, in fact, any increased risk, compared to treatment with standard diabetes medications and that the use of this medication will no longer be restricted.

Avandia and Low Blood Sugar

Unlike many other diabetes medications, Avandia is unlikely to cause low blood sugar. However, low blood sugar is more likely when Avandia is combined with other diabetes medications. Low blood sugar is also more common in elderly people and in people with adrenal, pituitary, liver, or kidney problems -- as well as during fasting before surgery and after prolonged exercise.
Low blood sugar symptoms can vary depending on a number of factors, including how low the blood sugar levels are. Examples of early symptoms of low blood sugar may include:
  • Sweating
  • Shakiness
  • Extreme hunger
  • Dizziness
  • Cold sweats
  • Blurry vision.
More severe symptoms of low blood sugar can include:
  • Changes in behavior, such as irritability
  • Loss of coordination
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Coma
  • Loss of life.
If you develop any possible symptoms of low blood sugar while on Avandia, contact your healthcare provider immediately or seek emergency medical care and stop taking the medicine. If your healthcare provider believes that low blood sugar is causing your symptoms, he or she may recommend that you treat the low blood sugar immediately by eating or drinking something with sugar in it, such as orange juice, hard candy, a tablespoon of honey, or even a tablespoon of granulated sugar.
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Avandia Medication

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