Avandia and Type 1 Diabetes
Because Avandia cannot cause insulin to be produced in the body, it cannot be used alone to treat type 1 diabetes. Avandia, however, may be used to treat people who have had type 1 diabetes for many years and who have become insulin-resistant as they have aged. People with type 1 diabetes who are not insulin-resistant should not take Avandia -- the medication cannot cause you to be more sensitive to insulin when there is no insulin present in the body.
Avandia® (rosiglitazone maleate) is a prescription medication approved to treat type 2 diabetes. The drug is not approved to treat type 1 diabetes. However, there are some situations where Avandia may be useful in people with this condition.
In September 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be severely restricting the use of Avandia, due to the risk of "cardiovascular events" such as heart attacks and strokes. Only individuals who cannot control their diabetes on other medications (or those who are already taking the medication and doing well) will be able to take Avandia.
How Does Avandia Treat Diabetes?
Avandia works by decreasing insulin resistance, which occurs when the body becomes resistant to the effects of insulin, and is common in people with type 2 diabetes. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas produces large amounts of insulin in an attempt to make up for insulin resistance. In type 1 diabetes, however, the pancreas cannot produce any insulin at all.
Because Avandia cannot cause insulin to be produced, it cannot be used alone to treat type 1 diabetes. In other words, it does no good to increase sensitivity to insulin if there is no insulin present in the body.
However, people may have both types of diabetes at the same time. Often, these are people who have had type 1 diabetes for many years and have become insulin-resistant as they have aged. Although these people still need insulin, they might also benefit from a medication that decreases insulin resistance, such as Avandia. This might allow them to use less insulin.
However, the idea of "double diabetes" is relatively new, and more research is needed in this area before the best treatments are known.