Diabetes Meds May Weaken Bones
Reported December 16, 2008
(Ivanhoe Newswire) Drugs commonly taken by diabetics to help improve blood sugar control may actually be harming women’s bones.
Researchers from the U.S. and Canada who combined the results from ten studies involving nearly 14,000 people found women who took thiazolidinediones were significantly more likely to have reduced bone density in the lumbar, spine and hip than women who didn’t take these drugs. A similar risk was not seen in men.
Currently, more than four million people in the U.S. take thiazolidinediones for their diabetes, and considering half are most likely women, the investigators suggest the drugs could be responsible for as many as 30,000 excess bone fractures every year.
In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Lorraine Lipscombe of the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences and the University of Toronto notes other drugs are available to control blood sugar in people with diabetes and suggests they may be a wiser choice for women.
“Clinical drug trials are often underpowered to detect unanticipated and rare adverse effects, and a standardized post-marketing surveillance process is needed,” she writes.
Such a process would help doctors better assess the potential for fractures associated with thiazolidinediones and guide them as they work to prescribe the best medicines for their patients.
SOURCE: CMAJ, published online December 10, 2008