Risks may outweigh benefits of popular diabetes drug

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The health benefits of the widely prescribed diabetes drug pioglitazone do not compensate for the risks the medication poses, according to new study results.

German researchers, who examined 22 studies of the drug, which is marketed under the brand name Actos, concluded that pioglitazone treatment in people with type 2 diabetes mellitus did not positively affect patient-oriented outcomes such as mortality, morbidity, adverse effects and health-related quality of life.

In addition, researchers found that patients taking the drug had increased rates of edema and heart failure. It also put patients taking other medications at higher risk of dangerous drops in blood glucose levels. The study is reported in the current issue of The Cochrane Library journal.