GENERIC NAME: rosiglitazone
BRAND NAME: Avandia
DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Rosiglitazone is an oral drug that reduces the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood. It is used for treating patients with type 2 diabetes and is in a class of anti-diabetic drugs called thiazolidinediones. The other member of this class is pioglitazone (Actos). Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that is important for controlling the levels of glucose in the blood. Insulin stimulates the cells of the body to remove glucose from the blood and thereby lowers the level of glucose in the blood. Patients with type 2 diabetes cannot make enough insulin or are resistant to the effects of insulin (insulin resistance). As a result, the cells in their bodies do not remove enough glucose from the blood, and the level of glucose rises. Rosiglitazone often is referred to as an "insulin sensitizer" because it attaches to the insulin receptors on cells throughout the body and causes the cells to become more sensitive (more responsive) to insulin and remove more glucose from the blood. At least some insulin must be produced by the pancreas in order for rosiglitazone to work. Rosiglitazone was approved by the FDA in May 1999.
PRESCRIBED FOR: Rosiglitazone, combined with diet and exercise is used for treating type 2 diabetes in patients who have not responded to other diabetic medications and cannot take pioglitazone (Actos). Rosiglitazone may be used alone or in combination with other types of antidiabetic drugs such as metformin (Glucophage) or sulfonylureas. Since it requires that individuals produce some insulin to be effective, rosiglitazone is not recommended for use in type I diabetes where the amount of insulin is very low or absent.
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