London, Dec 3 (UNI) A drug taken by many diabetics could increase the risk of osteoporosis, experts warned.
Avandia, also known as rosiglitazone, taken daily by thousands to treat diabetes, has been linked to thinning of bones, leading to osteoporosis, the Daily Mail reported.
The drug, which is used to treat type 2 diabetes, has already been linked to heart attacks and heart failures.
Researchers from the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California showed the drug boosted resorption-- the action of cells that break down bone structure-- leading to thinning of bones. It also interferes with the work of other cells responsible for building new bones.
The researchers said,''These findings have potential clinical applications, as they suggest that long-term rosiglitazone usage in the treatment of type 2 diabetes may cause osteoporosis, owing to a combination of decreased bone formation and increased bone resorption.'' Avandia has been shown to raise the risk of a heart attack by more than 40 per cent and double the risk of heart failure.
Its manufacturer, the pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, acknowledges the risk, but says this only occurs in patients who have already suffered heart problems.
A spokesman for the firm said its own research showed an increased risk of breaks of the foot, hand and arm among Avandia patients, however, added that the raised risk did not appear to be linked to osteoporosis.
A recent review of Avandia concluded its benefits outweighed its risks, a spokesman for the drug safety watchdog the European Medicines Agency said.
However, the review suggested that the safety of the drugs be researched further and advised patients with any concerns to speak to their doctor.