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Diabetes Drugs May Increase Fracture Risk

September 30, 2009
According to a study by researchers at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, published in the open access journal, PLoS Medicine, there appears to be an association between taking thiazolidinediones, a type of drug introduced in the 1990s to treat type 2 diabetes, and the incidence of bone fracture. They identified 1,819 individuals aged 40 years or older who had a recorded bone fracture and who had been prescribed a thiazolidinedione at least once, and conducted a self-controlled case-series study. This type of study compares how often an event occurs in a population of people during the period when they are taking a particular medication versus the period when they are not taking it. Adjusting for age to account for the greater bone fracture risk among older people, the researchers found that nearly one and half times as many fractures occurred when people were taking one of these drugs. The increased risk of fracture affected both men and women and applied to a wide range of fracture sites on the body; what’s more, the risk of fracture increased as the duration of treatment with the drug increased. If you are already at an increased risk of bone fracture and take a thiazolidinedione (common brand names include Byetta and Avandia), be sure to discuss your medication options with your doctor.