Treating osteoporosis patients with strontium ranelate has been shown to increase the rate of bone formation 17 times over, compared with the preferred treatment.
The drug is currently one of NICE’s least favoured treatments for the condition because it is not deemed to be cost-effective. It is not supposed to be prescribed to patients until they have tried two more preferable approaches, and once certain clinical criteria are met.
A study conducted in France analysed the bones of 268 post-menopausal women who have osteoporosis. Strontium ranelate was compared with alendronate, a “gold standard” bisphosphonate treatment. After six months, strontium ranelate was already found to be far superior in facilitating bone formation, at 14 times the rate given by the other drug. A year later, the difference increased to 17 times greater bone formation.
Scientists presented their findings to the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis in Valencia, Spain.
Strontium ranelate, sold as Protelos, differs radically from bisphosphonates by promoting bone growth as well as preventing its loss.
Roger Frances, a professor working at the University of Newcastle’s Institute for Ageing and Health, said: “These results are so important for patients as strontium ranelate is a proven drug that is already available on the NHS. This study clearly suggests that strontium ranelate helps patients to build new bone to a far greater extent than alendronate, the current standard of care.”
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