"The biggest thing is that a meta-analysis is designed to raise questions, while these other studies are designed to answer those questions," she said. "We believe that a long-term clinical trial designed to look at cardiovascular risk is the best way to answer these questions."
Those sentiments were echoed by Dr. John Messmer of the University Physician Group in Palmyra, Pa., who said that an analysis of studies not designed to look at heart attack risk in Avandia patients should not draw any conclusions about it.
"I think the FDA should advise physicians that there is a suggestion of increased cardiac risk and to exercise caution in prescribing it," he said.
"I do not think the FDA should state that Avandia causes heart attacks. There is no proof of that -- just a trend in the data in some studies. It would be ammunition for unscrupulous lawyers to trawl for cases if the FDA makes a bigger deal out of this than it really is."
Messmer, who said he is "very selective" in the way he uses Avandia, added that he feels the drug should be left on the market so that physicians can weight the benefits of the drug on a case-by-case basis.
"Physicians must judge risk versus benefit every day," he said. "Let it be up to us to make the best decision."