The controversial diabetes drug Avandia will remain on the market, but should patients take the drug after hearing about the health risks associated with it?

The FDA panel allowed to keep the drug on the market but recommended for strong supervision and additional warnings on the label.

Just stopping the drug for those who had been taking it may face greater risk of cardiovascular disease than might be caused by the drug, according to a group of experts from The Endocrine Society, the American Diabetes Assn. and the American Assn. of Clinical Endocrinologists.

The FDA advisory panel’s decision, made after reviewing conflicting and less-than-conclusive scientific evidence, may not ease patients’ anxiety over the drug’s possible danger of heart attacks.

Experts are divided on whether they agree with the FDA’s decision.

Avandia controls blood sugar by making the body’s cells more sensitive to insulin. Patients may turn to Actos, another diabetes drug that work as well without serious side effects.

The number of patients taking Avandia has dropped in recent years. From 13 million prescriptions written in 2006 at its peak, the number declined to about 2.6 million, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical market research company.

"Patients taking Avandia should speak with their physician about their treatment and any questions they may have regarding the safety of the medicine," Dr. Ellen Strahlman, Glaxo's chief medical officer, said in a statement.