New drug reduces osteoporosis disability

Progress continues to be made in the fight against osteoporosis. Studies show that a drug already used for osteoporosis is also very effective in reducing the number of days of disability suffered by women with osteoporosis and existing spinal fractures. According to findings published in the January issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine, post menopausal women treated with alendronate sodium (Fosamax) for three years reported 63 per cent fewer days of disability requiring bed-rest for back pain related to those fractures.

About 1,000 women with vertebral fractures received alendronate sodium and reported an average of 3.2 fewer days of bed rest and 11.4 fewer days of limited activity because of back pain during follow-u, compared to about the same number who received a placebo.

“These results are a clear demonstration of both the substantial adverse impact of new spinal fractures in women with osteoporosis, and of the benefits of the fracture reduction efficacy of the drug,” said Dr. Jacques Courville, Vice-President, Medical Research for Merck Frosst Canada & Co. “The study helps clarify what the outcome of new vertebral fractures actually is and reveals how itan directly affect a patient’s daily activity and quality of life.”

Worldwide clinical trials have shown that the drug can substantially reduce the risk of new symptomatic vertebral fractures – by as much as 55 per cent. The latest study, funded by Merck Frosst Canada & Co., shows that the drug also reduces the burden of extended bed rest and functional disability caused by back pain related to fractures.