Common oral medications used in type 2 diabetes patients have recently undergone studies. Studies from Wake Forest University School of Medicine and University of East Angela have concluded that thiazolidinediones (TDZs) used by the elderly and post menopausal women over a course of a year have now doubled their chances at fractures.
Women aged around 70 years old with type 2 diabetes who have taken this medication for a year or more, one additional fracture would occur among every 21 women. Those women who are around 56 years old and have taken TDZs for a year or more resulted in one additional fracture for every 55 women. The concern is that the agents in TDZs are doubling the risk for those that are already at a higher risk before the therapy.
Thiazolidinediones or TDZs are medications to control diabetes by lowering your blood sugar levels. Common drugs that are widely prescribed that fall into the thiazolidinedione drug family are Rosiglitazone also called Avandia TM made by GlaxoSmithKline. The second is Pioglitazone, but if in your medicine cabinet, ActosTM produced by Takeda Pharmaceuticals.
The study performed by Wake Forest University School of Medicine and University of East Angela had their researchers review 10 previously completed trials that lasted a minimum of 1 year. All persons in the studies had type 2 diabetes and an impaired glucose tolerance. They closely compared the risk of fracture among patients who were taking TDZ therapy to those that were not. Close to 14,000 patients were included in the studies. In conclusion of the study, the data ended up being broken down by gender. TDZ medications only seem to double the risk of fractures in women and not men. Researchers are not sure as to why it is gender specific but plan on beginning studies to find out more.
Areas of concern for bone density change is at the lumbar area of the spine and always a common concern for the elderly, the hip. As the women age and pass through menopause their bone density automatically starts changing resulting in most women taking calcium supplements among others. That is what puts elderly women in the mentioned age groups already at a high risk for fractures. Adding TDZ therapies to the mix could seal the deal on a long hospital stay after a fall. Working in geriatrics I know how hard it is for the elderly to recover from such a fall that usually results in surgery. The elderly have a much harder time healing and working through physical therapy to get back to where they left off before the fall. This is why it is necessary to prevent falls and their risk in fractures and breaks.
Concerning the thiazolidinedione therapy treatments in type 2 diabetic patients, the 2008 Guidelines of American Diabetes Association and European Association for Study of Diabetes have also advised against these medications. They have stated that they do not recommend TDZs for core therapy treatments and specifically advise against the use of Rosiglitazone. Even though these two reputable sources advise against using the treatments, your doctor is not breaking any laws in prescribing them for you. If you are taking these medications, speak with your doctor about your concerns and possible alternatives.