Diabetes Drug Rosiglitazone Can Increase Fracture Risk

High doses of rosiglitazone, a drug used to treat diabetes, can increase the risk of bone fractures, according to a new study.

Researchers from the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that rosiglitazone increases bone fat, which consequently can lead to poorer bone health.

“We were surprised by the massive amount of bone fat caused by rosiglitazone,” said Dr. Maya Styner, first author of the study. “The images were just stunning."

Rosiglitazone affects bone fat by packaging extra glucose - which the drug removes from the blood to treat diabetes - into pockets of fat that are deposited in the bone.

Diabetes and bone health

Diabetes already tends to increase bone fat levels and compromise bone health, but the good news is that exercise seems to substantially reduce the fat deposits caused by rosiglitazone.

"Exercise did decrease the volume of bone fat by about 10 percent, which was similar to the decrease we reported seeing in mice that were not given the drug but were instead fed a high-fat diet," Styner said.

Rosiglitazone, which is sold under the brand name Avandia, once had a bad reputation about a decade ago because of heart-related side effects associated with the drug.

Other drugs that use similar mechanisms as rosiglitazone to lower blood sugar may be close to FDA approval.

“Early reports show that the same bone concerns are popping up with these new drugs,” Styner said. “Doctors and patients need to be aware of this.”

Source: University of North Carolina

Image courtesy of stockdevil/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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