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What are the side effects of Avandia?

In September 2010, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that it would be severely restricting the use of Avandia, due to the risk of "cardiovascular events" such as heart attacks and strokes. Only individuals who cannot control their diabetes on other medications (or those who are already taking the medication and doing well) will be able to take Avandia.

Side Effects With Avandia: An Introduction

As with any medicine, side effects are possible with Avandia® (rosiglitazone maleate). However, not everyone who takes the drug will experience problems. In fact, most people tolerate it well. If side effects do occur, in most cases, they are minor and either require no treatment or can be easily treated by you or your healthcare provider.


(This article covers many, but not all, of the possible side effects with Avandia. Your healthcare provider can discuss a more complete list of Avandia side effects with you.)

Common Avandia Side Effects

Avandia has been studied thoroughly in clinical trials, with many people having been evaluated. In these studies, the side effects occurring in a group of people taking the drug were documented and then compared to side effects that occurred in a similar group of people not taking the medicine. This way, it was possible to see what side effects occurred, how common they were, and how they compared to the group not taking the medicine.


Based on these studies, the most common side effects of Avandia included:


  • Upper respiratory infections (similar to the common cold) -- in up to 9.9 percent of people

  • Broken bones in women (especially in the arm, hand, or foot) -- up to 9.3 percent of women

  • Injury -- up to 7.6 percent

  • Headache -- up to 5.6 percent

  • Swelling or water weight gain (edema) -- up to 4.8 percent (see Avandia and Weight Gain)

  • Back pain -- up to 4 percent

  • Anemia -- up to 1.9 percent.

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