Don't dump Avandia, diabetes groups urge patients

WASHINGTON, July 15 (Reuters) - Three influential groups of doctors who treat diabetes urged patients not to stop taking Avandia, saying on Thursday that while news about the controversial drug may be frightening, it would be worse to suddenly stop taking it.

A panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recommended, but with some divisions, that GlaxoSmithKline's GSK.LGSK.N controversial diabetes drug stay on the market, despite worries that it may raise the risk of heart attacks. [ID:nLDE66E07B]

They agreed that the drug, known generically as rosiglitazone, raised considerable concerns about heart risks in patients taking it but also agreed it did not seem to raise the risk of death.

“Even with the panel’s recommendation, the amount of scrutiny the drug has received may lead some diabetes patients who currently take rosiglitazone to want to stop taking the drug,” the Endocrine Society, American Diabetes Association and the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists said in a joint statement.

The three groups “urge patients to not make any changes to their medication use without discussing their treatment with their physician.”

Editing by Vicki Allen