Coming right on the heels of the recent warning from the FDA about the risk of fractures and Rosiglitazone, the FDA announced on March 9th that pioglitazone (Actos) has also been linked to an increased occurrence of arm, hand, and foot fractures among women taking the drug for treatment of type 2 diabetes. In an analysis of over 15,000 patients followed for up to 3.5 years, the risk of fracture was 1.9 fractures per 100 patient years in the pioglitazone group, compared to 1.0 fractures per 100 patient years in the placebo group. Although this risk of fractures is low, this is the second analysis which shows that women taking thiazolidinediones have nearly double the risk of experiencing small bone fractures compared to women who are not taking the drug. Taken together, these analyses demonstrate that this increased risk of fractures is almost certainly a class effect, and physicians should definitely be cognizant of this risk when deciding on therapy for diabetic females.
-Cara Litvin, M.D.
Image Courtesy of Ebay (I knew I shouldn’t have lost all those pens over the years…ed.)