A new study published in the British Medical Journal has confirmed that Avandia (rosiglitazone), a GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) drug for Type 2 diabetes, is associated with an increased risk of heart failure and death.

The study, which compared rosiglitazone with a similar drug pioglitazone (Actos) produced by Takeda, examined almost 40,000 patients aged 66 years or over who started treatment with either rosiglitazone or pioglitazone between April 2002 and March 2008.

During the six-year study period, researchers concluded that pioglitazone-treated patients had a significantly lower risk heart failure than patients treated with rosiglitazone.

The researchers concluded that given that rosiglitazone lacks a distinct clinical advantage over pioglitazone, continued use of the drug may not be justified.

Sales of Avandia, once GSK’s second biggest-selling product, plummeted two years ago after a US study linked it to an increased risk of heart attack in a conclusion disputed by GSK.