Bisphosphonates and glucose homeostasis: a population-based, retrospective cohort study

Konstantinos A Toulis, Krishnarajah Nirantharakumar, Ronan Ryan, Tom Marshall, Karla Hemming

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)
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CONTEXT: Evidence suggests that the human skeleton might be involved in the regulation of glucose homeostasis.

OBJECTIVE: The objective of the study was to investigate the effect of exposure to bisphosphonates on the risk of incident type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM).

DESIGN: This was a population-based, retrospective, open cohort study over the period 1995-2010.

SETTING: The study was conducted from The Health Improvement Network database from the United Kingdom in a primary care setting.

PATIENTS: A total of 35 998 individuals aged older than 60 years, without diabetes at baseline and with more than 1 year's exposure to bisphosphonates, and 126 459 age-, gender-, body mass index- and general practice-matched unexposed individuals participated in the study.

INTERVENTIONS: There were no interventions.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE: A new diagnosis of T2DM during the 16-year-long observation period, determined by Read codes and adjusted incidence rate ratio in bisphosphonate-exposed compared with unexposed groups, was the main outcome measure.

RESULTS: The risk of incident T2DM was significantly lower in patients exposed to bisphosphonates compared with matched controls [adjusted incidence rate ratio 0.52, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.48-0.56, P < .0001]. In subgroup analyses, the findings remained consistent in males [0.77 (95% CI 0.66-0.89)], females [0.49 (95% CI 0.45-0.53)], obese [0.54 (95% CI 0.50-0.59)], individuals exposed to steroid treatment [0.47 (95% CI 0.34-0.64)], and over different types of bisphosphonate medication. Analysis of duration of treatment suggested a brief increase in the risk of T2DM (1 to 2.5 y of exposure), followed by a progressive, sustained decrease as the years of exposure accumulated.

CONCLUSIONS: This observational evidence suggests exposure to bisphosphonates was associated with a significant 50% reduction in the risk of incident T2DM.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1933-40
Number of pages8
JournalThe Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism
Issue number5
Early online date19 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - May 2015


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