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New drug reduces risk of osteoporotic fractures in postmenopausal women

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Treating postmenopausal women with osteoporosis with twice-yearly injections of a new drug, denosumab, significantly decreases their risk of suffering a fracture, latest study results suggest.

UK researchers studied more than 7,800 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, aged 60 to 90, for four years. Half received 60mg of denosumab, which is yet to be licensed, every six months for 36 months, and the rest received a placebo.

The researchers found that women who received denosumab were 68% less likely to suffer a vertebral fracture than those who were given a placebo.

The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, also showed that those in the denosumab group were 40% less likely to suffer a hip fracture, and 20% less likely to suffer a non-vertebral fracture, than those in the placebo group.

Women who had twice yearly injections of denosumab also experienced significant increases in bone mineral density compared to those who were given a placebo, the researchers said.

‘These results suggest that denosumab offers an important new approach to prevention of fractures in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis,’ said Graham Russell, professor of musculoskeletal pharmacology at Oxford University.

‘The data shows that denosumab reduces the risk of all major types of fractures and, because it is given as a subcutaneous injection every six months, it also has the potential to help compliance to treatment,’ he added.

Denosumab has also been shown to reduce the risk of fractures in men undergoing androgen deprivation therapy for non-metastatic prostate cancer. A study also published in the New England Journal of Medicine, of more than 1,400 men found that those who were given denosumab were 62% less likely to suffer a fracture compared to those who took a placebo.




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