Navigation Links
Bone-Strengthening Drugs May Be Overprescribed
Date:1/18/2008

Doctors suggest drug makers exaggerate benefits for women who do not have osteoporosis

FRIDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Drug companies exaggerate the benefits and downplay the risks of prescribing bone-strengthening drugs for women whose bones are weakened but who do not have osteoporosis, a new report claims.

Drugs such as raloxifene, alendronate and risedronate do reduce the risk of fractures of women with osteoporosis, according to the article in the Jan. 19 issue of BMJ.

"But what they [drug makers] do is to argue that the effect of treating pre-osteoporosis [osteopenia] and osteoporosis is similar," explained study co-author Dr. Pablo Alonso-Coello, a family practitioner at Hospital Sant-Pau in Barcelona. However, many women with osteopenia have such a low risk of fractures that drug treatment would provide almost no benefit, he noted.

"This move to treat pre-osteoporosis raises serious questions about the benefit-risk relationship for low-risk individuals and about the costs of medicalizing and potentially medicating an enormous group of healthy people," the report said. Osteopenia is thought to affect almost half of older women, the study noted.

The study authors looked at four studies, all of which found benefits in giving osteoporosis drugs to women with osteopenia. But those reports exaggerated the benefits, often by reporting risk reduction in relative rather than absolute terms, Alonso-Coello said.

For example, the absolute risk of a woman with osteoporosis having a fracture in a given year might be 10 percent, he said. "The effect of an osteoporosis drug is to lower that risk by half, so the absolute benefit is a 5 percent reduction. But in women with pre-osteoporosis, the risk of fracture is very low, say 1 percent a year, so if you lower that by half, you go down to an 0.5 percent absolute reduction," he explained.

One study cited in the paper claimed a 75 percent relative reduction in the risk of fracture, Alonso-Coello said. The absolute risk reduction was 0.9 percent, meaning that up to 270 women with pre-osteoporosis would have to be treated with drugs for three years to avoid a single fracture.

The study also found that the research played down the potentially harmful side effects of these drugs; in one case, a re-analysis of data on raloxifene, a selective estrogen receptor modulator (SERM), made no mention of the increased risk for blood clots.

Just this month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued an alert on bisphosphonates, the class of osteoporosis drugs that include alendronate and risedronate, warning that the medications can cause severe bone pain.

Even the study authors themselves are open to question, Alonso-Coello said. "Many of the authors are industry people, employees of the drug companies, which casts some doubt on them," he said.

Drug companies now are marketing the drugs in Europe to women with osteopenia, he said. According to the report, two companies had to modify their promotional material after complaints from Alonso-Coello and fellow researcher Ray Moynihan, a conjoint lecturer in the Faculty of Health at the University of Newcastle, Callaghan, New South Wales, Australia.

The World Health Organization is taking steps to help women with osteopenia make decisions about drug treatment. "WHO is moving to calculate absolute risk," Alonso-Coello said. "I contacted them recently and was told they might report really soon, as early as next January. They are working with well-developed equations to calculate the risk of fracture, the same sort of risk factors as for cardiovascular disease."

More information

All aspects of osteoporosis are explored by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.



SOURCES: Pablo Alonso-Coello, M.D., family practitioner, Hospital Sant-Pau, Barcelona; Jan. 19, 2008, BMJ


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Using Product Marketing to Launch Drugs That Outperform the Competition
2. China Nepstar Chain Drugstore Launches Charitable Initiative to Promote Awareness of Low-income Working Womens Health Issues
3. Weight gain induced by antipsychotic drugs can be avoided
4. Popular osteoporosis drugs triple risk of bone necrosis
5. Antiretroviral Drugs May Prevent Vaginal Transmission of HIV
6. Aggression as rewarding as sex, food and drugs
7. Lowering Co-Pays on Some Drugs Help Fight Chronic Diseases
8. Americans pay the most for prescription drugs and still dont take them
9. FDA Reports New Risks Posed by Anemia Drugs
10. Blacks, Hispanics less likely to get strong pain drugs in emergency rooms
11. Some antipsychotic drugs may be missing their mark
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... Mediaplanet today announces distribution of ... while encouraging readers to sign up as an organ donor for the 123,000 people ... , An organ donor can save up to 8 saves through organ donation and ...
(Date:12/9/2016)... ... December 09, 2016 , ... "I had a terrible time trying to ... "I thought that if the nebulizer had a more child-friendly design, then children would ... He developed the patent-pending NEBY to avoid the need to deliver medication via a ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... , ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... with distinction by the Undersea and Hyperbaric Medical Society (UHMS), the leading authority ... care and patient safety. Only a few hospitals and facilities have earned this ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... ... “Natural Language Processing–Enabled and Conventional Data Capture Methods for Input to Electronic Health ... . , Results of the comparative usability study demonstrate that a dictation-based method ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... ... December 08, 2016 , ... CURE Media Group, the nation’s ... groups, has aligned with Upstage Lung Cancer in efforts to combat lung cancer, announced ... J. Hennessy, Jr said, “CURE Media Group is honored to team up with Upstage ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:12/8/2016)... , Dec. 8, 2016  Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc. (NYSE: DPLO) has ... 2016 Top Workplaces National Standard. To learn ... ... (PRNewsFoto/Diplomat Pharmacy, Inc.) ... an employee survey administered by WorkplaceDynamics, LLC, a research firm specializing ...
(Date:12/8/2016)...  Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY ... EXPEDITION3 trial at the 9 th Clinical Trials ... did not meet the primary endpoint in the EXPEDITION3 ... with mild dementia due to Alzheimer,s disease (AD), and ... the treatment of mild dementia due to AD. ...
(Date:12/8/2016)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the "Global ... - Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... , , ... a CAGR of around 3.2% from 2015 to 2025. Some of ... extracellular microelectrode arrays and intracellular microelectrodes, research in left-to-right shunt detection ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: