Annual dose of osteoporosis drug better than daily to boost brittle bones’ strength

April 10th, 2009 - 5:29 pm ICT by ANI  

London, Apr 10 (ANI): Osteoporosis drug, if taken once annually, is better at increasing the strength of brittle bones than a daily dose of the same, says a new study.

The researchers, led by Prof David M Reid, from the University of Aberdeen, found that bone density increased faster in patients injected with zoledronic acid-which has been hailed as a breakthrough in treatment of the condition.

But over fifty percent of women stop taking the drugs within a year partly because the medication needs to be taken after fasting for 30 minutes and can cause side effects.

Osteoporosis attacks the density of patients’ bones, making them more brittle and likely to fracture or break.

It occurs mostly in women after menopause or triggered by the using drugs to target other disease.

In the new study, researchers focussed on patients who had developed the condition after taking a group of drugs called glucocorticoids, which is used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and asthma.

They compared the effect of giving 833 patients either a once-a-year infusion of zelondric acid or the current standard treatment of daily oral drugs.

The results found that the annual treatment increased bone density by an average of 4.1 per cent.

On the other hand, when patients were given one of the standard drugs, in this case risedronate, bone density increased by 2.7 per cent.

The side effects were common, including fever and a deterioration in symptoms from rheumatoid arthritis, but occurred only in the first three days after infusion.

“Guidelines recommend prescription of risedronate or alendronate in many patients given glucocorticoids, who are at increased risk of fracture,” The Telegraph quoted the study as saying.

It concluded: “However, our study has shown that one intravenous infusion of zoledronic acid provides greater increases in bone mineral density and more rapid and substantial decreases in bone turnover than does daily risedronate.”

The researchers called for larger studies to establish whether increasing bone density will cut the rate of fracture.

The study is published in the latest issue of The Lancet. (ANI)

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