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Health & Medicine for Senior Citizens

Osteoporosis Drugs Compared for Side Effects, Efficacy in Loyola Study

Half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis: findings to help physicians guide treatment options for women:

Dec. 2, 2013 – A study comparing the efficacy and tolerability of two popular osteoporosis drugs, denosumab and zoledronic acid, found that denosumab had a significantly greater effect on increasing spine bone mineral density and zoledronic acid caused more flulike symptoms. These findings were presented recently at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research’s annual meeting.

 

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Researchers performed a retrospective chart review and survey of 107 patients to compare the efficacy, patient satisfaction, cost and known adverse effects of denosumab versus zoledronic acid, including muscle pain, back pain and flulike symptoms.

The denosumab and zoledronic acid groups were statistically similar in all areas but spine bone mineral density (increased 0.060 g/cm2 versus 0.021  g/cm2, respectively) and flulike symptoms (none versus 29 percent of patients).

“Both groups of patients were satisfied with their treatment despite the discrepancies in the drugs,” said Kellen Sheedy, first author and Stritch School of Medicine student.

The FDA approved denosumab in 2010 for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. It is injected subcutaneously (60 mg) every six months. The treatment works by inhibiting bone loss and fracture risk.

Zoledronic acid was approved by the FDA in 2007 for osteoporosis. This treatment is administered intravenously (5 mg) once every 12 months. It is the most potent of the drugs in its class, and it works by interfering with the bone-breakdown process.

“This study helped us quantify the efficacy and adverse effects of these two drugs providing further guidance for physicians who prescribe these treatments,” said Pauline Camacho, MD, study investigator and director of the Osteoporosis & Metabolic Bone Disease Center at Loyola University Health System. “While this was the first head-to-head comparison of these two treatments, larger prospective studies will be needed to confirm these findings.”

About Osteoporosis (MedlinePlus)

Osteoporosis makes your bones weak and more likely to break. Anyone can develop osteoporosis, but it is common in older women. As many as half of all women and a quarter of men older than 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Risk factors include

   > Getting older

   > Being small and thin

   > Having a family history of osteoporosis

   > Taking certain medicines

   > Being a white or Asian woman

   > Having osteopenia, which is low bone density

Osteoporosis is a silent disease. You might not know you have it until you break a bone. A bone mineral density test is the best way to check your bone health. To keep bones strong, eat a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, exercise and do not smoke. If needed, medicines can also help.

NIH: National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases

Treatment with Osteoporosis Medication

There are many things to think about when choosing the right osteoporosis medicine.

Read at National Osteoporosis Foundation

Types of Osteoporosis Medications

There are two categories of osteoporosis medications: antiresorptive medications that slow bone loss and anabolic drugs that increase the rate of bone formation.

Read at National Osteoporosis Foundation

Denosumab FDA Approvals

Brand name(s): Prolia, Xgeva

The FDA has approved denosumab for several uses, which are reported at the National Cancer Institute.

Zoledronic Acid Injection

Brand name(s): Reclast, Zometa

Information at MedlinePlus

 

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