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Long-term Use of Osteoporosis Medication May Reduce Bone Fracture Risk for Some Patients

Posted May 09 2012 7:00pm

Continuing a popular but controversial treatment for osteoporosis could reduce spine fracture risk for a particular group of patients, but others could see little to no change if they discontinue it. Based on available evidence, a UCSF researcher reevaluated his 2006 finding from a randomized 10-year study of alendronate, a type of bisphosphonate – a class of drugs that prevent loss of bone mass.

“Our study suggests that even after five years of therapy, if your bone density is low enough, you’re at high risk for having additional spine fractures,” said Dennis Black, PhD, professor and division chief of UCSF’s Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics’ Clinical Trials and Multicenter Studies. “And by continuing this therapy for these patients, it’s likely to decrease that risk for spine fractures.”

The study was funded by Merck, the maker of Fosamax, a commercial version of alendronate.

Editorial note: – Does anyone think this study would have been conducted at all (remember it was funded by the folks that make the drug) if Merck thought the results might have been negative???

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