Diabetes drug: Ban lifted after talks with experts

After the health ministry consulted the Drug Testing Advisory Board and experts in diabetes, the ban on Pioglitazone drug was lifted.

The ministry concluded that, if used appropriately in the right type of patients, the drug is effective and safe for treatment of Type 2 diabetes.

Welcoming the lifting of the ban, Dr KP Singh of Fortis Hospital said Pioglitazone was safe and the decision to ban the drug was taken in haste by the central government.

Dr Singh said, "There are over 6 crore diabetes patients in India. Over 30 lakh of these take Pioglitazone due tot its favourable action."

He added that about 95 per cent of patients suffer from Type 2 diabetes, in which the patient becomes insulin resistant.

Pioglitazone is the most commonly used drug for treatment of this disorder.

"Pioglitazone remains among the most effective and economical Type 2 diabetic drugs in the market and patients should consult their doctors for queries. In general, doctors prescribe the drug only after knowing the patient's history and eligibility of the drug for the particular patient," Dr Singh added.

The drug improves blood sugar levels in people with Type 2 diabetes by increasing the patient's reactivity to insulin, which makes it an important prescription choice for doctors.

It is an economical alternative to insulin and is also cost-effective.

Talking about the precautions while taking the drug, Dr Singh said, "The drug should not be used as a first choice. Doctors should check the status after three to six months. The drug should not be prescribed to those suffering from cardiac or renal failure. It should not be given to those who have active or a history of urinary bladder cancer or Haematuria (blood in urine)."

When asked if any incidence of cancer had been reported in north India because of Pioglitazone he said not a single case had been reported. The drug is commonly available in market as Pioglit, Pionorm and Pioglar.

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