THERE IS A NEW DRUG THAT STIMULATES GROWTH OF BONE AND PREVENTS FRACTURES
An article in today's New York Times reported on a new drug that stimulates bone growth and prevents fractures at least as well as the other drug on the market. The drug is expected to receive FDA approval soon.
Some 10 million Americans have a disease that weakens bones, 80% of them are women. This leads to an increased frequency of fractures of hip, spine and wrist. These fractures often have a high price, including death, increasing incidence of disease, and high dollar costs.
We are living longer. We can control chronic conditions such as coronary function, we can treat (with some measure of success) cancers, and we don't smoke -- we take better care of ourselves. But with this increased longevity has come diseases such as osteoporosis (not just one disease but a complex) that in an earlier time we might not have lived long enough to have experienced. In the case of osteoporosis we experience age-related deterioration of our bones.With the dramatic growth of the elderly population and the rise in the incidence of fractures at earlier ages, osteoporosis has become a major public health problem of epidemic proportions. All ethnic groups are susceptible to osteoporosis, and the disease is under diagnosed in the African American population.
Among the several risk factors for osteoporosis are genetics, insufficient calcium and vitamin D intake, along with some of the usual factors that are out to get us: smoking, too much alcohol and the 'couch potato syndrome.'
The care for patients with established osteoporosis should include:
- Early diagnosis of potentially treatable secondary types of osteoporosis
- Decreasing fracture risk by utilizing medications, such as SERMs, bisphosphonates, denosumab, teriparatide
- Exercise and activity programs
- Injury prevention strategies
- Optimizing nutrition and lifestyle variables to decrease risk.
Osteoporosis is a serious health problem. It demands federal research funds for research and education to reduce the incidence of fractures associated with osteoporosis.