Update on the treatment of osteoporosisApril 1st 2003
Osteoporosis affects more than 10 million Americans and accounts for 1.5 million fractures annually. Several treatment options have been shown to prevent fractures and improve outcomes in patients with osteoporosis. Alendronate and risedronate clearly reduce fractures and are good initial choices in many patients. Raloxifene and calcitonin reduce the risk of vertebral fractures and may be appropriate in certain patients. Teriparatide was recently approved by FDA for the treatment of osteoporosis and may offer another treatment option. Combination therapy has been shown to increase bone mineral density; however, a reduction in the risk of fractures remains to be established. Zoledronic acid may offer an advantage of reduced frequency of administration.
NEW WARNING: Uterine sarcoma linked with long-term tamoxifen useJuly 1st 2002
Cases of uterine sarcoma in women receiving tamoxifen citrate (Nolvadex, AstraZeneca) have prompted a "Dear Health Professional" letter, black-box warnings on labeling, and publication of a letter to the editor in the New England Journal of Medicine from FDA officials.
Teriparatide: A recombinant human parathyroid hormone fragment with anabolic actions for treatment of osteoporosis (PDF)March 1st 2002
Medications currently available to treat osteoporosis slow the rate of bone loss primarily by reducing bone resorption. The purported advantage of the anabolic agent teriparatide is that it actually promotes new bone growth. Clinical trials have shown the drug to be effective for vertebral fracture prevention in postmenopausal women at high risk. Additional evidence is accumulating to support teriparatide's use in other populations (including men) with osteoporosis. This injectable is likely to receive FDA approval in the second half of this year.
Update on the benefits and risks of hormone replacement therapy (PDF)February 1st 2002
Emerging data are continually refining our understanding of the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) in postmenopausal women. This review assesses the current state of evidence on these various risks and benefits, concluding with an outline of what's established and where varying degrees of uncertainty remain. Algorithms for use of HRT for several established indications are featured.