It’s been said that nearly 21 million people in the United States have diabetes. As we have reported, Rosiglitazone, as Avandia is also called, is widely used in people with Type II, or adult onset diabetes, the most common form of the disease. Just last month, Avandia got a new warning label telling patients that it may, or may not, increase the risk of heart attacks. The FDA is waiting for more research to clear up the alleged controversy dealing with whether the drug increases the risk of heart attacks or not. The recently released news that came out relating another adverse event associated with this medication may be quite telling.
This new research raised the possibility that long-term treatment with Avandia could lead to osteoporosis. Researchers found that in mice, Avandia increased the activity of cells that degrade bones. The results of this study were released in the online issue of Nature Medicine. An earlier study found a higher risk of fractures among women who take the drug. This report is the first to attempt, however, to explain the link between the drug and fractures. Sales of the pill, GlaxoSmithKline’s second best seller, were already expected to be down by more than $1 billion dollars this year because of the previous announcement of drug’s higher risk of heart attack.
No less than seven GlaxoSmithKline medicines have run into regulatory difficulties or delays this year. The research involving Avandia was funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the National Institute of Health. Could this new development signal the end of the road for Avandia? In any event, this recent report is the first to attempt to explain the link between the drug and fractures. This study can’t be viewed as good news for the manufacturer of Avandia.