Type 2 Diabetes Drug May Increase Fracture Risk

MONDAY Sept. 28, 2009 -- Patients who take the diabetes drugs known as thiazolidinediones may be at higher risk of bone fracture, new research suggests.

In the study, Dr. Ian Douglas of the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and colleagues searched a database of more than 6 million patients in the United Kingdom and found 1,819 people aged 40 and older who had had a bone fracture and had been prescribed a type of thiazolidinedione. The drugs were introduced in the 1990s and are used to treat type 2 diabetes.

After adjusting their figures to account for the fact that older people are more likely to break bones, the researchers found that those taking thiazolidinediones had almost 1.5 times as many fractures while taking the drugs as they did when they weren't taking the drugs. The risk grew the longer the people took the medications.

The findings support previous research that has suggested a link between these medications and bone fractures. But the researchers acknowledge that the study didn't follow the gold standard of research, which is to randomly assign people to take the drug or not take it.

Still, Douglas and colleagues conclude that the findings "should be taken into consideration in the wider debate surrounding the possible risks and benefits of treatment with thiazolidinediones."

The study appears in the Sept. 29 online edition of the journal PLoS Medicine.

Posted: September 2009


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