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October 9, 2001

Pills for Diabetes

Question from El Paso, Texas, USA:

Do thiazolidinediones cause a so-called fatty liver?

Answer:

Rezulin [Rezulin, a pill for type 2 diabetes] was withdrawn from the market because of a rare, but potentially fatal, risk of drug-induced liver failure. The mechanism of the liver failure was not predictable. The other medications from the same group that are currently on the market, Actos [pioglitazone] and Avandia [rosiglitazone], do not have the same risk for the liver dysfunction.

In communicating this information, it is important to note that patients with poorly controlled type�2 diabetes develop fatty liver, and treatment with drugs like Rezulin have been shown to improve the fatty liver.

JTL