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Diabetes drug linked to osteoporosis

GSK’s drug for diabetes Avandia (Rosiglitazone) has come under the scanner after reports that the drug increases the risk of Osteoporosis has been confirmed.

Rosiglitazone belongs to a class of drugs called as Thiazolidinediones (aka PPAR Gamma activators) and the other drug in this class is Pioglitazone. It has been a useful drug in the management of Type II Diabetes and it works by increasing the sensitivity of the body cells to circulating Insulin.

Normal bone is not static as it seems from the outside. There is a constant flux with new bone being laid down by Osteoblasts and bone being destroyed by Osteoclasts and there needs to be a fine balance between their activities. What Rosiglitazone does is it disturbs this fine balance by increasing the activity of the bone destroying cells and thus making an individual susceptible to fractures. GSK has accepted that there is a slightly increased risk of fractures in the hand and foot bones, especially in women. There seems to be no increase in the risk of vertebral fractures which is so common in Osteoporosis. The drug had recently also come under investigation as it had been shown to slightly increase the risk of heart failure in diabetics.

What this research can do to medicine is promote further investigations in the seeking of a new drug with the opposite effect of increasing the activities of the osteoblasts and decreasing the activity of Osteoclasts and thus help patients who have brittle bones.

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