Avandia is a drug prescribed to treat diabetes.

A new study has found that long-term use of Avandia increases heart attack risk by more than 40 percent and doubles the risk of heart failure. These findings confirm another recent scientific study. The author of the study estimates that 3.5 million patients in the U.S. take Avandia for diabetes.

It is estimated that Avandia may cause more than 4,000 excess heart attacks and 9,000 excess cases of heart failure a year.

GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Avandia, was warned by U.S. regulators as early as 2001 against attempting to play down the risk of cardiac disease associated with Avandia in its marketing materials. And last June the FDA announced that the toughest so-called "black box warning" label would be placed on Avandia.

Concern over the safety of Avandia reached the public in May 2007, when the New England Journal of Medicine published a combined analysis of more than 40 studies. That report found that Avandia significantly raised the risks of heart attacks.

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