The effect of insulin on bone mineral density among women with type 2 diabetes: a SWAN Pharmacoepidemiology study

K. Ruppert, J. Cauley, Y. Lian, J. C. Zgibor, C. Derby, D. H. Solomon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Summary: This was a longitudinal study examining the effects of insulin use on bone mineral density loss. Insulin use was found to be associated with greater bone mineral density loss at the femoral neck among women with diabetes mellitus. Introduction: Women with diabetes mellitus (DM) have higher bone mineral density (BMD) and experience slower BMD loss but have an increased risk of fracture. The data regarding the effect of insulin treatment on BMD remains conflicted. We examined the impact of insulin initiation on BMD. Methods: We investigated the annual changes in BMD associated with the new use of insulin among women with DM in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). Propensity score (PS) matching, which is a statistical method that helps balance the baseline characteristics of women who did and did not initiate insulin, was used. Covariates with a potential impact on bone health were included in all models. Mixed model regression was used to test the change in BMD between the two groups. Median follow-up time was 5.4 years. Results: The cohort consisted of 110 women, mean age, 53.6 years; 49% white and 51% black. Women using insulin (n = 55) were similar on most relevant characteristics to the 55 not using insulin. Median diabetes duration for the user group was 10 vs. 5.0 years for the non-user group. There was a greater loss of BMD at the femoral neck among insulin users (− 1.1%) vs non-users (− 0.77%) (p = 0.04). There were no differences in BMD loss at the spine − 0.30% vs − 0.32% (p = 0.85) or at the total hip − 0.31% vs − 0.25 (p = 0.71), respectively. Conclusions: Women with T2DM who initiated insulin experienced a more rapid BMD loss at the femoral neck as compared to women who did use insulin.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)347-354
Number of pages8
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1 2018


  • Bone mineral density
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Fracture
  • Insulin
  • Women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism


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