Avandia side effects could increase risk of fractures

Harvey Kirk

By Harvey Kirk
Posted December 3, 2007


Avandia has been the subject of a lot of attention recently as a result of studies which found that the type II diabetes drug increases the risk of heart problems.  A new study released this week provides additional information about another Avandia side effect, which could increase the risk of osteoporosis or fractures among diabetics using the drug

The December 2, 2007 issue of the journal Nature Medicine, contains a study which looks at this Avandia side effect.  While prior research has established that Avandia carries a risk for bone fractures, the new study, involving mice, offers additional information to explain the side effect.

Bones remain strong by constantly being rebuilt by the body.  The process of maintaining healthy bones occurs through a balance between osteoclasts, or cells which break down the bone, and osteoblasts, or cells which build new bones.  If this balance is disturbed it can lead to brittle bones, which are more apt to break.

It was previously understood that Avandia inhibits the formation of new bone, but the research reported this week indicates that it also increases bone resorption, or the breakdown of bone.  This weakens both sides of the balance, increasing the risk of osteoporosis.

The Avandia fracture risk is a serious health concern for many older individuals who have taken the drug for the treatment of diabetes.  Older individuals may have balance problems which make them more prone to falling  and broken bones can have a much more severe effect on their health, impacting their quality of life and reducing the level of independence they are able to enjoy.


Earlier this year, the FDA added new “black box” warnings regarding Avandia heart side effects which could increase the risk of heart attacks and congestive heart failure.  Many within the FDA felt that the agency should have issued an Avandia recall due to the risk of heart problems, but the drug regulators decided by a narrow vote to keep the diabetes drug on the market.  It does not appear likely that the new study about the increased risk of fractures will have any impact on this decision.

The lawyers at Saiontz & Kirk, P.A. represent individuals nationwide who are pursuing Avandia lawsuits as a result of heart attacks, strokes, congestive heart failure or death after using the diabetes drug.  Experts have estimated that over 100,000 heart attacks have been caused by the use of Avandia, and the manufacturer has failed to adequately warn about this side effect.  Potential claims for severe fractures resulting in permanent or serious injuries are also being considered and evaluated. 

UPDATE 1/8/2008: Avandia bone fracture lawsuits are now being reviewed throughout the United States.

If you, a friend or family member believe an injury may have been caused by the use of Avandia, request a free consultation and claim evaluation.

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