HealthDay—October 31, 2012
Older men at risk for fractures from osteoporosis may reap the same benefit as women from bone-strengthening drugs called bisphosphonates, a new study suggests.
In this case, one such drug called zoledronic acid (Reclast) significantly reduced backbone breaks in men suffering from osteoporosis. Bisphosphonates work by building bone mass, the researchers explained.
The new study was published in the Nov. 1 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
The investigators found the rate of fractures was close to 2 percent among men receiving Reclast, compared with almost 5 percent of men who were given the placebo. According to the researchers, that's a 67 percent reduction in the risk of fractures for men receiving Reclast.
Dr. Joseph Lane is chief of the Metabolic Bone Disease Service at Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. He said that, "up to this point, bisphosphonates have been approved for use in men, but they have not demonstrated fracture protection, because the numbers were too small and the fracture rates were too small."
"What's exciting about this study is it demonstrates, essentially, the same fracture protection that is seen in women," he said.
If this finding is true for Reclast, it's likely true for all bisphosphonates, Lane added. "We can now feel more comfortable because we now have very strong proof that fracture protection is provided by Reclast," he said.
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