Studies continue to try to dive into the cause and cure for type 2 diabetes and the drug once thought to be a major breakthrough for type 2 diabetes, Avandia, is coming under a lot of significant study and skepticism.

Health Canada is currently claiming that the deaths of six Canadians are “very likely” linked to the Type 2 Diabetes drug Avandia, which of course raises concerns about whether the potential detrimental effects of the drug are worth the risks. Other studies on the drug Avandia indicate that it may be linked to a much higher risk of heart attack in certain patients, according to reports in the respected New England Journal of Medicine. To support this study, Health Canada says that 28 Canadians who had been taking Avandia for type 2 diabetes had suffered heart attacks since being introduced to the drug Avandia in 2000. In the US, there have been 19 confirmed reports of heart attacks from US citizens who have been taking Avandia.

While this is not a lot of people based on the number of total people taking Avandia, the number is statistically significant, and people taking a drug for one ailment should not be “e encouraging” another, potentially life-threatening disorder. More clinical study is needed, but the evidence exists that there is probably a connection between the heart attacks and Avandia. While the studies do not conclusively prove that Avandia is the culprit and Avandia has definitely been ruled out in some of the heart attack cases, there are strong signs that it is a factor in the majority of the cases.

A review published in the New England Journal of Medicine indicates multiple studies on the drug Avandia which indicate a higher risk of heart attack in approximately 43% of patients who take the drug.

The pharmaceutical firm GlaxoSmithKline PLC manufactures Avandia. To add to their problems, the Food and Drug Administration has declined to grant a priority review to their newest experimental cancer vaccine Cervarix, which serves to add pressure to the company with the current controversy surrounding their manufacture of Avandia. The Avandia family of drugs manufactured by Glaxo includes Avandamet and Avandaryl, which showed sales last year of well over a billion dollars. This makes the Avandia family of drugs the second best selling drug after the company’s Advair product which is for asthma treatment.

While Glaxo claims that the reported incidents of heart attack are “statistically the same” for Avandia patients as those patients who are on other anti-diabetes drugs, it remains clear that further research and study is required before these drugs can be claimed safe and effective for treating what they were designed to treat.