Effects of pioglitazone on renal calcium excretion

J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2011 Sep;96(9):E1482-5. doi: 10.1210/jc.2011-0373. Epub 2011 Jul 13.


Context: Glitazones increase fracture risk in long-term users and in postmenopausal women. Studies have demonstrated deleterious effects of glitazones on bone metabolism. Glitazones also have direct renal tubular effects increasing sodium reabsorption. We hypothesized that glitazones may also regulate renal calcium excretion.

Design: In this double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, four-way, crossover study, we examined the effects of pioglitazone (45 mg/d for 6 wk) or placebo on renal calcium and phosphate excretion and PTH levels during different sodium intakes in 16 individuals (eight with type 2 diabetes and eight with essential hypertension).

Results: Pioglitazone had no effect on corrected plasma calcium and phosphate levels but decreased significantly the alkaline phosphatase and PTH levels. Pioglitazone induced on average a 45% increase in urinary calcium excretion. The fractional excretion of calcium rose to the same extent, suggesting a glomerular filtration rate-independent effect. Sodium intake did not influence the calciuric effect of pioglitazone. Changes in diurnal and nocturnal calciuria were similar. There was no effect of pioglitazone on phosphate excretion.

Conclusion: Pioglitazone decreases PTH levels and increases urinary calcium excretion, independently from changes in glomerular filtration rate and from the sodium load, suggesting an inhibitory effect of pioglitazone on the tubular reabsorption of calcium. These effects may contribute to the increased fracture risk with glitazone treatment.

Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01090752.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Calcium / urine*
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Kidney / drug effects*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parathyroid Hormone / blood
  • Phosphates / urine
  • Pioglitazone
  • Sodium, Dietary / metabolism
  • Thiazolidinediones / pharmacology*


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Parathyroid Hormone
  • Phosphates
  • Sodium, Dietary
  • Thiazolidinediones
  • Calcium
  • Pioglitazone

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01090752