Osteoporosis drug may reduce Type 2 risk

Research suggests that an osteoporosis drug called alendronate reduces the risk of Type 2 diabetes.

People with diabetes have a higher risk of fractures, suggesting a link between blood glucose regulation and bone strength. Recent research with animals also notes that the modification of bone cells by osteoporosis drugs affects glucose regulation. Dr Rikke Viggers and colleagues of Aalborg University Hospital, Denmark, compared diabetes rates among those prescribed alendronate – used to help strengthen bones and reduce the risk of a fracture – with those not taking the treatment.

Hospital records were used to identify people with Type 2 diabetes in Denmark between 2008 and 2018, with prescription records determining whether the participants had ever been prescribed alendronate. Analysis revealed that those who had taken alendronate were 34 per cent less likely to have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes than those who had never taken the drug. Taking alendronate for at least eight years could reduce the risk by more than half (53 per cent) compared to those who have never taken alendronate.

Dr Viggers said: “Excitingly, our research suggests that alendronate, an inexpensive medicine widely used to treat osteoporosis, may also protect against Type 2 diabetes. We believe that doctors should consider this when prescribing osteoporosis drugs to those with pre-diabetes or at high risk of Type 2 diabetes.”

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