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Relief for osteoporosis patients

A new treatment that requires a single injection every year has been found to cut fracture risk in osteoporosis patients.

Relief for osteoporosis patients

A new treatment that requires a single injection every year has been found to cut fracture risk in osteoporosis patients. According to WHO data, one out of eight males and one out of three females in India has osteoporosis. It is believed that Asians are at a high risk of developing osteoporosis and an estimated 6.1 crore Indians are affected by this disease. It is also said that the most effective way of treating osteoporosis is to prevent it. For this, women approaching menopause are usually recommended calcium supplements and routine exercises. Medicines are now available that effectively reverse this process of excessive bone absorption. These include biphosphonates like etidronate and alandronate, and calcitonin. In a latest finding, it has been discovered that a single injection of zoledronic acid once a year could cut the risk of fracture in osteoporosis patients. To assess the role of zoledronic acid in treating osteoporosis, researchers at the University of Auckland, New Zealand studied 1065 patients who were given yearly zoledronic acid (at a dose of 5 mg) infusions, and 1062 patients who were assigned to receive placebo, within 90 days after surgical repair of a hip fracture. All patients (with the average age of 74.5 years) received supplemental vitamin D and calcium. They were followed up for roughly 2 years. The results showed that an annual injection of zoledronic acid could not only reduce the risk of fractures but also improve survival rates in people suffering from osteoporosis. It was found that the rates of new clinical fractures were 8.6 percent in the zoledronic acid group and 13.9 percent in the placebo group. There was also a 35 percent risk reduction in those on zoledronic acid. The most frequent side effects in patients receiving zoledronic acid were fever, aches and pain in muscles and bones No adverse effects on the healing of fractures were noted. Therefore, zoledronic acid can strengthen bones and offer fracture protection to millions of people suffering from osteoporosis.
New England Journal of Medicine,
October 2007
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