Popular Diabetes Drug Avandia May Cause Osteoporosis

Recent research raises the possibility that rosiglitazone (also known as the drug Avandia), a popular diabetes drug used to improve the body’s response to insulin, may increase bone thinning and with long-term treatment could lead to osteoporosis. This discovery that could help to explain why diabetics can have an increased risk of bone fractures.

While bones appear solid, they are constantly being broken down and rebuilt by the body. In mice, researches found Avandia caused an increased activity of the cells that degrade bones. The assumption had always been that brittle bones in diabetics were the result of a reduced bone-building activity, not increased bone removal. This is according to a report published in this week’s online issue of Nature Medicine, the first attempt to really explain the link between the drug and fractures.

This finding “has led to a better understanding of the challenges associated with long-term treatment of patients with Type II diabetes… It also provides a basis for the development of a ’next generation’ of drug that can specifically dial out this side effect and a new insight into a previously unrecognized aspect of bone physiology that has important medical consequences” said Ronald M. Evans of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in La Jolla, Calif., lead author of the report.

GlaxoSmithKline, which markets the drug, has already acknowledged a higher risk of fractures among women who take the drug although no prior explaination has been offered as to why this happens. Avandia was also recently labeled with warnings about the risk of heart failure in some patients.

Nearly 21 million people in the United States have diabetes. Rosiglitazone is widely used in people with Type II, or adult onset diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

December 3rd, 2007 • mdvaldosta • Diabetes, Medications and Drugs Comments Off

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