Diabetes Drugs Linked To Fractures
December 10, 2008, 5:00 PM
There's a connection between two popular diabetes drugs and broken bones. Researchers found women with type two diabetes who took Avandia and Actos doubled their risk of fractures.
The study of 14-thousand women discovered long term use of the medications weakens bones in women -- especially seniors.
Dr. Xavier Pi-Sunyer, Chief of Endocrinology at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital says, “This is disquieting, because diabetic patients already have an increased risk of hip fractures.”
One out of every 21 patients in their 70's who took the drugs for at least a year suffered a broken bone... for women in their mid-50's -- it was one out of every 55.
Dr. Pi-Sunyer says, “One has to be very careful about selecting the people that you might want to give this medication to. Making sure these women don’t have osteoporosis.”
Though researchers aren't sure why it happens, it could be because the drugs replace bone marrow with fat cells.
The makers of both drugs say they go to great lengths to publicize the medication risks.
Avandia and Actos started carrying strong warning labels after recent studies revealed they also increase the risk of heart failure.
That led many doctors to question if the risks outweigh the benefits.
Dr. Pi-Sunyer says, “I think these are drugs that now need to be prescribed much more carefully by physicians.”.
The same increased risk of fracture was not found in men.
Experts suggest diabetes patients talk with their doctors about other drugs to treat the disease.
About four million Americans take the Diabetes drugs every year - about half are women. The two drugs help control blood sugar and make insulin shots more effective.
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