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Study links Actos to increased risk of hip fractures

Filed November 21st, 2012 Joshua Sophy

A new study highlights the risk of hip bone fractures among people taking Actos in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.

According to research funded in part by the European Association for the Study of Diabetes, taking thiazolidinedione (TZD) drugs like pioglitazone (Actos) or rosiglitazone instead of other drugs designed to lower glucose increases a person’s risk of suffering a hip fracture. The risk is highest for a distal hip fracture, mostly among women, though men do face a significantly increased risk of suffering similar consequences while taking TZDs.

The study was conducted using a database on more than 200,000 Scots afflicted with type 2 diabetes. Researchers examined prescription drugs taken, hospital admissions, and deaths among this large group. In the Methods summary of the report on the study appearing in the journal Diabetologia, researchers say they used “discrete-time failure analysis was used to model the effect of cumulative drug exposure on hip fracture during 1999–2008.”

The risk of suffering a hip fracture while taking Actos appears to increase with time on the drug. Among the patients who were exposed to sulfonylureas, metformin, or insulin, the risk of suffering a hip fracture was not present.

There are warnings on the labels of Actos, specifically, that acknowledge the risk of bone fractures (particularly of the hip) while taking Actos in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. However, it is the other risks associated with taking Actos that have increased scrutiny of the drug in the last few years.

Actos quickly became the top-selling drug treatment for type 2 diabetes after the previous top-seller was largely removed from the market amid safety concerns of its own. It was not until late 2010 that the Food and Drug Administration warned that taking Actos at high doses or for longer periods of time could increase a person’s risk of suffering a life-threatening form of bladder cancer.

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