How Does It Work?Avandia is part of a group of diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones (or sometimes called "glitazones"). It helps to improve insulin sensitivity, meaning that it helps your body to use its natural insulin better. This helps to lower blood sugar and keep it under better control.
EffectivenessThere have been several studies looking at the effects of Avandia for type 2 diabetes.
Avandia and Hemoglobin A1c
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) is a test used to measure long-term blood sugar control. For people without diabetes, HbA1c results are usually less than 6 percent, while people with diabetes usually have higher results. In one study, people taking Avandia lowered their HbA1c by up to 0.7 percent on average, while the HbA1c in people not taking Avandia increased by 0.8 percent.
Studies have shown that the higher the HbA1c, the greater the chance for developing long-term problems related to diabetes. This includes problems such as heart disease, diabetic retinopathy, diabetic neuropathy, and diabetic nephropathy. By getting blood sugar levels under control with Avandia, it may be possible to decrease the chances for developing these diabetes complications.
Avandia and Fasting Blood Sugar
Fasting blood sugar is another way to study the effects of a diabetes medication. In studies, people taking Avandia decreased their fasting blood sugar levels by 25 to 55 mg/dL, while people not taking it increased their fasting blood sugar.
During clinical studies, people gained about 2 to 12 pounds (on average) while taking Avandia (see Avandia and Weight Gain). The medication can also have effects on both good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) (see Lipid Effects of Avandia).