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Monday 24th October 2016

Bone risk 'doubled' from diabetes drugs

10th December 2008

New research has suggested that women’s risk of breaking a bone can double with long-term use of type 2 diabetes drugs.

UK and US researchers looked into the effects of thiazolidinediones, including rosiglitazone and pioglitzone, which have already been linked to a raised risk of fractures, as well as heart problems.

They quantified the risk and findings published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal showed that using the drugs for more than a year thins the bones significantly.

The group, from the University of East Anglia and Wake Forest University in North Carolina, found no increased fracture risk among men.

Every year in the UK, two million prescriptions are written for rosigliatzone and pioglitzone and while risks are known, the European Medicines Agency concluded after a safety review that the benefits outweighed those risks.

Following the study, researchers say that because the drugs only had a modest therapeutic effect, the regulators should think again.

Lead researcher Dr Yoon Loke, of the University of East Anglia, said: "Women with type 2 diabetes are already at an increased risk of fractures - with a near doubling in the risk of hip fractures - so any additional risk from thiazolidinedione therapy could have a considerable impact on public health."

Diabetes UK said further evidence "through properly controlled trials" was needed before conclusively linking thiazolidinediones to increased risk of various bone conditions.

GlaxoSmithKline, which markets rosiglitazone as Avandia, said the safety and effectiveness of the drug was backed by one of the largest clinical trial programmes ever undertaken.


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