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University of Cincinnati Academic Health Center
Publish Date: 01/05/06
Media Contact: AHC Public Relations, (513) 558-4553
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New Study Tests Once-a-Month Osteoporosis Treatment

Osteoporosis experts at the University of Cincinnati (UC) are participating in a study to determine if a monthly drug therapy will help improve patient compliance by eliminating the need to take daily and weekly medications.

Nelson Watts, MD, director of UC’s Bone Health and Osteoporosis Center, is leading a two-year study to compare an investigational monthly dose of risedronate (Actonel) with a daily dose of the medication, which is approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of osteoporosis.

Study participants must be women who have osteoporosis or osteopenia, are at least five years postmenopausal and aged 50 or older. They will receive medication, bone-density and lab tests at no charge.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which the quality and density of bone is reduced. Osteopenia refers to mild bone loss that doesn’t quite meet the criteria of osteoporosis. Patients with osteopenia are at an increased risk of developing osteoporosis.

“Osteoporosis therapy helps reduce the risk of fractures and preserves a person’s quality of life,” says Dr. Watts. “Compliance with long-term therapies for silent diseases like osteoporosis is poor, even with current, once-a-week doses. Hopefully, patient compliance will improve with monthly doses.”

Bone is a living tissue that constantly renews itself, notes Dr. Watts. “As we age, the cells that take away old bone outnumber the renewing cells,” he says, “which causes bones to become weak and more likely to fracture.” Risedronate works by restoring the balance between the cells that take away and restore new bone.”

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, more than 10 million people in the United States have osteoporosis and almost 34 million more are estimated to have low bone mass, placing them at an increased risk for osteoporosis.

While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person’s disease, it can occur at any age.

“Bone loss in women can begin as early as age 25,” says Dr. Watts. “That’s why it’s important that people, both men and women, take steps to optimize their bone health and help prevent osteoporosis. People should eat a balanced diet rich in calcium and vitamin D, engage in weight-bearing and resistance-training exercises and maintain a healthy lifestyle by not smoking and by limiting their alcohol intake. They should also talk to their health-care professional about bone health and bone-density testing and medication.”

For more information on this study, call Marlene Kocher at (513) 475-7403. Dr. Watts received honoraria and consulting fees from the study sponsors, Sanofi-aventis and Procter & Gamble.

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