Three new studies

Study results being presented at the 21st annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research this week could lead to significant improvement in the treatment of osteoporosis in post menopausal women. The studies involved Fosamax, a drug produced by Merck Frosst Canada & Co.

“It is our clinical experience that some post menopausal women still have osteoporosis, despite receiving hormone replacement therapy,” said Dr. Jacques Brown, Head of the Rheumatology Division, Centre hospitalier universitaire de Québec, Laval University. “While Fosamax is not approved in Canada for the treatment of osteoporosis in post menopausal women receiving HRT, these results – the first involving such a large female population – are encouraging.”

According to Dr,. Brown, the study results “seem to demonstrate” that Fosamax not only provides additional increases in bone mineral density (BMD) in women already on hormone replacement therapy, but prevents rapid bone loss and increases BMD, even if hormone replacement therapy is discontinued.

This is potentially very good news for the more than 1.4 million Canadians (and one in four women over the age of 50) who have osteoposis. The condition is characterized by low bone mass, resulting in weak bones that are prone to fracture with little or no pressure.

In Canada, osteoporosis is responsible for more than 25,000 hip fractures each year. Hip, vertebral and wrist fractures are the most common types. Bone mass is closely related to bone strength – the greater the bone mass, the stronger the bones and the less likely they are to fracture. Bone mineral density or BMD is considered the most accurate predictor of fracture risk related to osteoporosis..