After reviewing 170,000 diabetic patients, researchers at Southern California Permanente Medical Group have linked glitazone drugs to a condition that may lead to some loss of sight.
Fluid build-up in the retina, which is called diabetic macular edema, can lead to blindness and was 60 percent more prevalent among those who were taking the glitazone class of drugs, although the study points out that the relationship is correlative and not causal.
Dr Thomas J.
Liesegang, editor of the American Journal of Ophthalmogy where the study was published, said the results were indicative of the need for more long-term studies about the safety of using all prescription drugs, not just the glitazone class.
The only other drug in the class approved to for diabetic indications, rosiglitazone, was linked to a 15 percent higher death rate than Actos, with lead researcher Dr. Wolfgang Meyer and his colleagues writing that the study "confirms the safety concerns" about pioglitazone.
The authors of that study also cited concerns about pioglitazone, including its "well-documented effect on the risk of congestive heart failure."
According to the American Diabetes Association, 8.6 million Americans over the age of 60 have been diagnosed with diabetes.