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New Research: Diabetes Drug Avandia May Increase Chances of Osteoporosis

Posted on Dec 04, 2007

New research has raised concern that long-term treatment of Avandia, also known as rosiglitazone, could lead to osteoporosis. The popular diabetes drug may increase bone thinning, a discovery that can help explain why diabetics can have an increased risk of fractures.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institutes of Health funded the research.

Avandia is taken to improve response to insulin.  Even though bones appear solid, they are constantly being broken down and rebuilt by the body. Researchers found that in mice, Avandia increased the activity of the cells that degrade bones.

GlaxoSmithKline, which markets the drug, has acknowledged that a former study found a higher risk of fractures among women who take the drug. But this report is the first to attempt to explain the link between the drug and fractures. Researchers claim that the finding has led to a better understanding of the challenges associated with long-term treatment of patients with Type II diabetes.

Avandia recently was labeled with warnings about the risk of heart failure in some patients.

Nearly 21 million people in the United States have diabetes. Avandia is widely used in people with Type II, or adult onset diabetes, the most common form of the disease.

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