There were some concerns about the design of the trial. For example, patients in the placebo arm did not receive another medication, although many did receive bone-boosting vitamin D. However, the authors noted that the patients enrolled in this trial could not or would not take an oral bisphosphonate.
Patients taking Reclast will also need to take vitamin D and calcium, they added, and some will experience flu-like symptoms which can be alleviated with a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug.
Unlike one previous trial, there were no differences in reports of the irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation between the two groups and no reports of osteonecrosis of the jaw, a painful jaw condition, which had previously been associated with this class of drugs.
There's more on osteoporosis at the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
SOURCES: Kenneth W. Lyles, M.D., professor of medicine and vice chairman for clinical research, department of medicine, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, N.C.; Paul Brandt, Ph.D., associate professor, neuroscience and experimental therapeutics, Texas A&M Health Science Center College of Medicine, College Station; Sept. 19, 2007, New England Journal of Medicine
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