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Diabetes drugs double fracture risk: Swiss study
LONDON (Reuters) - Diabetes drugs Avandia from GlaxoSmithKline Plc and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd's Actos can more than double the risk of bone fractures, Swiss researchers said on Monday.
Previous studies have established a heightened risk for fractures among patients taking both medicines, since they may cause slower bone formation and faster bone loss.
The new research sheds light on the scale of the problem by comparing the records of 1,020 diabetic patients with fractures diagnosed by British doctors between 1994 and 2005 against a control group of diabetics who did not have fractures.
Christian Meier of University Hospital Basel found those on Avandia or Actos -- known generically as rosiglitazone and pioglitazone -- had double or triple the odds of non-spine fractures.
The odds for fracture were increased among patients who took the drugs for approximately 12 to 18 months and the risk was highest for those with two or more years of therapy.
Fractures of the hip and wrist were most notable, according to the findings published in the journal Archives of Internal Medicine.
Avandia and Actos belong to a class of medicines called thiazolidinediones, which are designed to sensitize the body to insulin. But researchers believe they also stimulate the action of a cell that drives the process of reabsorbing bone, making bones more apt to break.
Both are blockbuster products but Avandia has lost out to Actos following publication of a U.S. study last May linking it to heart attack risk.
(Reporting by Ben Hirschler, editing by Elizabeth Fullerton)
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