Avandia, Actos double fracture risk

According to the American Diabetes Association and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there are nearly 24 million people with diabetes in the United States, though only about 18 million of these have received a diagnosis. Many of these take either Avandia (rosiglitazone) or Actos (pioglitazone), but a study released today says that long-term use of these drugs doubles the risk of bone fractures in women with type 2 diabetes.

Researchers at Wake Forest University School of Medicine (North Carolina) worked with researchers at the University of East Anglia (Britain) and performed an analysis of 10 clinical trials. The studies were all at least a year in duration and involved about 14,000 patients.

The study focused on the thiazolidinedione (TZD) class of drugs, which has been in the news for cardiovascular risk factors as well. Researchers knew that the drug class had an association with fractures, but with this new study, they were able to come up with numbers, finding that long-term use by women with type 2 diabetes doubles the risk of bone fractures.

In 2006, about 4 million people took the drugs for diabetes and it is likely that about half of these were women. The researchers did not find a similarly increased risk for bone fractures in men. For now, the reason for the gender difference remains unclear.

Curt Furberg, a co-author of the study, said that with the cardiovascular risks and the risk of fractures, "...it's very much a gamble to take the drugs."

- read the story at USA Today