Skip to Content

Metformin/rosiglitazone FDA Alerts

The FDA Alerts below may be specifically about metformin/rosiglitazone or relate to a group or class of drugs which include metformin/rosiglitazone.

MedWatch Safety Alerts are distributed by the FDA and published by Drugs.com. Following is a list of possible medication recalls, market withdrawals, alerts and warnings.

Recent FDA Alerts for metformin/rosiglitazone

Metformin-containing Drugs: Drug Safety Communication - Revised Warnings for Certain Patients With Reduced Kidney Function

ISSUE: FDA is requiring labeling changes regarding the recommendations for metformin-containing medicines for diabetes to expand metformin’s use in certain patients with reduced kidney function. The current labeling strongly recommends against use of metformin in some patients whose kidneys do not work normally. FDA was asked to review numerous medical studies regarding the safety of metformin use in patients with mild to moderate impairment in kidney function, and to change the measure of kidney function in the metformin drug labeling that is used to determine whether a patient can receive metformin.

FDA concluded, from the review of studies published in the medical literature, that metformin can be used safely in patients with mild impairment in kidney function and in some patients with moderate impairment in kidney function. FDA is requiring changes to the metformin labeling to reflect this new information and provide specific recommendations on the drug’s use in patients with mild to moderate kidney impairment.

FDA is also requiring manufacturers to revise the labeling to recommend that the measure of kidney function used to determine whether a patient can receive metformin be changed from one based on a single laboratory parameter (blood creatinine concentration) to one that provides a better estimate of renal function (i.e., glomerular filtration rate estimating equation (eGFR)). This is because in addition to blood creatinine concentration, the glomerular filtration rate takes into account additional parameters that are important, such as the patient’s age, gender, race and/or weight. See the FDA Drug Safety Communication for additional information, including a data summary and a list of metformin-containing drugs.

BACKGROUND: Metformin-containing medicines are available by prescription only and are used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels in patients with type 2 diabetes. When untreated, type 2 diabetes can lead to serious problems, including blindness, nerve and kidney damage, and heart disease. Metformin-containing medicines are available as single-ingredient products and also in combination with other drugs used to treat diabetes. The current drug labeling strongly recommends against metformin use in some patients whose kidneys do not work normally because use of metformin in these patients can increase the risk of developing a serious and potentially deadly condition called lactic acidosis, in which too much lactic acid builds up in the blood.

RECOMMENDATION: Healthcare professionals should follow the latest recommendations when prescribing metformin-containing medicines to patients with impaired kidney function. Patients should talk to their health care professionals if they have any questions or concerns about taking metformin.

The labeling recommendations on how and when kidney function is measured in patients receiving metformin will include the following information: 

  • Before starting metformin, obtain the patient’s eGFR.
  • Metformin is contraindicated in patients with an eGFR below 30 mL/minute/1.73 m2.
  • Starting metformin in patients with an eGFR between 30-45 mL/minute/1.73 m2 is not recommended.
  • Obtain an eGFR at least annually in all patients taking metformin. In patients at increased risk for the development of renal impairment such as the elderly, renal function should be assessed more frequently.
  • In patients taking metformin whose eGFR later falls below 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2, assess the benefits and risks of continuing treatment.  Discontinue metformin if the patient’s eGFR later falls below 30 mL/minute/1.73 m2.
  • Discontinue metformin at the time of or before an iodinated contrast imaging procedure in patients with an eGFR between 30 and 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2; in patients with a history of liver disease, alcoholism, or heart failure; or in patients who will be administered intra-arterial iodinated contrast.  Re-evaluate eGFR 48 hours after the imaging procedure; restart metformin if renal function is stable. 

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

[04/08/2016 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
 


Rosiglitazone-containing Diabetes Medicines: Drug Safety Communication - FDA Eliminates the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS)

ISSUE: FDA is eliminating the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) for rosiglitazone-containing type 2 diabetes medicines, which are approved as Avandia, Avandamet, Avandaryl, and generics. The REMS is no longer necessary to ensure that the benefits of rosiglitazone medicines outweigh their risks.

In 2013, FDA required removal of the prescribing and dispensing restrictions for rosiglitazone medicines after determining that data did not demonstrate an increased risk of heart attack with rosiglitazone medicines compared to the standard type 2 diabetes medicines metformin and sulfonylurea. FDA also required the drug manufacturers to provide educational training to health care professionals about the current state of knowledge regarding the heart risks of rosiglitazone medicines. Manufacturers have since fulfilled these requirements.

FDA has continued monitoring these medicines and identified no new pertinent safety information. FDA will update the public if any new information becomes available.

BACKGROUND: Type 2 diabetes is a disease that can lead to serious complications such as kidney failure, blindness, and premature death. Rosiglitazone can be used along with diet and exercise to control blood sugar in adults with the disease.

RECOMMENDATION: The REMS is no longer necessary to ensure that the benefits of rosiglitazone medicines outweigh their risks.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

[12/16/2015 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
 


Rosiglitazone-containing Diabetes Medicines: Drug Safety Communication - Removal of Some Prescribing and Dispensing Restrictions

including Avandia, Avandamet, Avandaryl, and generics

 

[Posted 11/25/2013]

ISSUE: FDA has determined that recent data for rosiglitazone-containing drugs, such as Avandia, Avandamet, Avandaryl, and generics, do not show an increased risk of heart attack compared to the standard type 2 diabetes medicines metformin and sulfonylurea. As a result, FDA is requiring removal of the prescribing and dispensing restrictions for rosiglitazone medicines that were put in place in 2010. This decision is based on FDA review of data from a large, long-term clinical trial and is supported by a comprehensive, outside, expert re-evaluation of the data conducted by the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI). 

Previous data from a large, combined analysis of mostly short-term, randomized clinical trials of rosiglitazone had suggested an elevated risk of heart attack, so FDA required a Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS), called the Rosiglitazone REMS program. The Rosiglitazone REMS program restricted the use of rosiglitazone medicines to help ensure that their benefits outweighed the risks. 

Although some scientific uncertainty about the cardiovascular safety of rosiglitazone medicines still remains, in light of the new re-evaluation of the Rosiglitazone Evaluated for Cardiovascular Outcomes and Regulation of Glycemia in Diabetes (RECORD) trial, FDAs concern is substantially reduced and the rosiglitazone REMS program requirements will be modified. FDA is also requiring revisions to the rosiglitazone prescribing information and the patient Medication Guide to include this new information.

Refer to the Drug Safety Communication for more details.

BACKGROUND: Rosiglitazone is a treatment option that can improve blood sugar control in some patients with type 2 diabetes.

RECOMMENDATION: Patients with type 2 diabetes should continue to work closely with their health care professionals to determine treatment options that are most appropriate. Health care professionals, pharmacies, and patients will no longer be required to enroll in the rosiglitazone REMS program to be able to prescribe, dispense, or receive rosiglitazone medicines. As part of the REMS, sponsors will ensure that health care professionals who are likely to prescribe rosiglitazone medicines are provided training based on the current state of knowledge concerning the cardiovascular risk of rosiglitazone medicines. Manufacturers will also send Dear Healthcare Provider and Dear Professional Society letters to educate prescribers about the new information.

[11/25/2013 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]


Avandia (rosiglitazone): REMS - Risk of Cardiovascular Events

includes Avandia, Avandamet, and Avandaryl

 

[UPDATED 11/04/2011] Healthcare providers must enroll in the Avandia-Rosiglitazone Medicines Access Program if they wish to prescribe rosiglitazone medicines to outpatients or patients in long-term care facilities after November 18, 2011.

[UPDATED 05/18/2011] FDA notified healthcare professionals and the public of new restrictions to the prescribing and use of rosiglitazone-containing medicines. These medicines to treat type II diabetes are sold under the names Avandia, Avandamet, and Avandaryl. Healthcare providers and patients must enroll in a special program in order to prescribe and receive these drugs.

FDA has modified the REMS for Avandamet and Avandaryl because previously, the REMS consisted of only a Medication Guide. The REMS, which now includes a restricted access and distribution program, applies to all three rosiglitazone products.

 

[UPDATED 02/04/2011] FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that information on the cardiovascular risks (including heart attack) of rosiglitazone has been added to the physician labeling and patient Medication Guide. This information was first announced by FDA on September 23, 2010 as part of new restrictions for prescribing and use of this drug.

Rosiglitazone is sold as a single-ingredient product under the brand name Avandia. Rosiglitazone is also sold as a combination product under the brand name Avandamet (contains rosiglitazone and metformin) and under the brand name Avandaryl (contains rosiglitazone and glimepiride).

In addition to describing the cardiovascular risks, the drug labels have been revised to state that rosiglitazone and rosiglitazone-containing medicines should only be used:

  • In patients already being treated with these medicines
  • In patients whose blood sugar cannot be controlled with other anti-diabetic medicines and who, after consulting with their healthcare professional, do not wish to use pioglitazone-containing medicines (Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, or Duetact).

 

[Posted 09/23/2010]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to patients with Type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes on other medications. These new restrictions are in response to data that suggest an elevated risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients treated with Avandia.

BACKGROUND: Avandia is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glucose (blood sugar) control in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Rosiglitazone also is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA will require that GSK develop a restricted access program for Avandia under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS. Under the REMS, Avandia will be available to new patients only if they are unable to achieve glucose control on other medications and are unable to take Actos (pioglitazone), the only other drug in this class. Current users of Avandia who are benefiting from the drug will be able to continue using the medication if they choose to do so.

Doctors will have to attest to and document their patients' eligibility; patients will have to review statements describing the cardiovascular safety concerns associated with this drug and acknowledge they understand the risks. The agency anticipates that the REMS will limit use of Avandia significantly.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

 

[11/04/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[05/18/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/03/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/03/2011 - Prescribing Information/Medication Guide - GSK]

[09/23/2010 - News Release - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Q&As - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Avandia Related Information - FDA]
 


Avandia (rosiglitazone): REMS - Risk of Cardiovascular Events

includes Avandia, Avandamet, and Avandaryl

[UPDATED 05/18/2011] FDA notified healthcare professionals and the public of new restrictions to the prescribing and use of rosiglitazone-containing medicines. These medicines to treat type II diabetes are sold under the names Avandia, Avandamet, and Avandaryl. Healthcare providers and patients must enroll in a special program in order to prescribe and receive these drugs.

FDA has modified the REMS for Avandamet and Avandaryl because previously, the REMS consisted of only a Medication Guide. The REMS, which now includes a restricted access and distribution program, applies to all three rosiglitazone products.

[UPDATED 02/04/2011] FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that information on the cardiovascular risks (including heart attack) of rosiglitazone has been added to the physician labeling and patient Medication Guide. This information was first announced by FDA on September 23, 2010 as part of new restrictions for prescribing and use of this drug.

Rosiglitazone is sold as a single-ingredient product under the brand name Avandia. Rosiglitazone is also sold as a combination product under the brand name Avandamet (contains rosiglitazone and metformin) and under the brand name Avandaryl (contains rosiglitazone and glimepiride).

In addition to describing the cardiovascular risks, the drug labels have been revised to state that rosiglitazone and rosiglitazone-containing medicines should only be used:

  • In patients already being treated with these medicines
  • In patients whose blood sugar cannot be controlled with other anti-diabetic medicines and who, after consulting with their healthcare professional, do not wish to use pioglitazone-containing medicines (Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, or Duetact).

[Posted 09/23/2010]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to patients with Type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes on other medications. These new restrictions are in response to data that suggest an elevated risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients treated with Avandia.

BACKGROUND: Avandia is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glucose (blood sugar) control in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Rosiglitazone also is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA will require that GSK develop a restricted access program for Avandia under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS. Under the REMS, Avandia will be available to new patients only if they are unable to achieve glucose control on other medications and are unable to take Actos (pioglitazone), the only other drug in this class. Current users of Avandia who are benefiting from the drug will be able to continue using the medication if they choose to do so.

Doctors will have to attest to and document their patients' eligibility; patients will have to review statements describing the cardiovascular safety concerns associated with this drug and acknowledge they understand the risks. The agency anticipates that the REMS will limit use of Avandia significantly.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

[05/18/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/03/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/03/2011 - Prescribing Information/Medication Guide - GSK]

[09/23/2010 - News Release - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Q&As - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Avandia Related Information - FDA]


Avandia (rosiglitazone): REMS - Risk of Cardiovascular Events

[UPDATED 02/04/2011] FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that information on the cardiovascular risks (including heart attack) of rosiglitazone has been added to the physician labeling and patient Medication Guide. This information was first announced by FDA on September 23, 2010 as part of new restrictions for prescribing and use of this drug.

Rosiglitazone is sold as a single-ingredient product under the brand name Avandia. Rosiglitazone is also sold as a combination product under the brand name Avandamet (contains rosiglitazone and metformin) and under the brand name Avandaryl (contains rosiglitazone and glimepiride).

In addition to describing the cardiovascular risks, the drug labels have been revised to state that rosiglitazone and rosiglitazone-containing medicines should only be used:

  • In patients already being treated with these medicines
  • In patients whose blood sugar cannot be controlled with other anti-diabetic medicines and who, after consulting with their healthcare professional, do not wish to use pioglitazone-containing medicines (Actos, Actoplus Met, Actoplus Met XR, or Duetact).

 

[Posted 09/23/2010]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to patients with Type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes on other medications. These new restrictions are in response to data that suggest an elevated risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients treated with Avandia.

BACKGROUND: Avandia is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glucose (blood sugar) control in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Rosiglitazone also is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA will require that GSK develop a restricted access program for Avandia under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS. Under the REMS, Avandia will be available to new patients only if they are unable to achieve glucose control on other medications and are unable to take Actos (pioglitazone), the only other drug in this class. Current users of Avandia who are benefiting from the drug will be able to continue using the medication if they choose to do so.

Doctors will have to attest to and document their patients' eligibility; patients will have to review statements describing the cardiovascular safety concerns associated with this drug and acknowledge they understand the risks. The agency anticipates that the REMS will limit use of Avandia significantly.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

 

[02/03/2011 - Drug Safety Communication - FDA]
[02/03/2011 - Prescribing Information/Medication Guide - GSK]
 

[09/23/2010 - News Release - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Q&As - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Avandia Related Information - FDA]
 

    

Avandia (rosiglitazone): REMS - Risk of Cardiovascular Events

[Posted 09/23/2010]

ISSUE: FDA notified healthcare professionals and patients that it will significantly restrict the use of the diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone) to patients with Type 2 diabetes who cannot control their diabetes on other medications. These new restrictions are in response to data that suggest an elevated risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, in patients treated with Avandia.

BACKGROUND: Avandia is in a class of drugs known as thiazolidinediones, or TZDs. It is intended to be used in conjunction with diet and exercise to improve glucose (blood sugar) control in patients with Type 2 diabetes mellitus. Rosiglitazone also is available in combination with other diabetes medications, metformin under the brand name Avandamet or glimepiride under the brand name Avandaryl.

RECOMMENDATION: FDA will require that GSK develop a restricted access program for Avandia under a risk evaluation and mitigation strategy, or REMS. Under the REMS, Avandia will be available to new patients only if they are unable to achieve glucose control on other medications and are unable to take Actos (pioglitazone), the only other drug in this class. Current users of Avandia who are benefiting from the drug will be able to continue using the medication if they choose to do so.

Doctors will have to attest to and document their patients' eligibility; patients will have to review statements describing the cardiovascular safety concerns associated with this drug and acknowledge they understand the risks. The agency anticipates that the REMS will limit use of Avandia significantly.

Healthcare professionals and patients are encouraged to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program:

 

[09/23/2010 - News Release - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Q&As - FDA]
[09/23/2010 - Avandia Related Information - FDA]
 

    

More metformin/rosiglitazone Resources