Teriparatide was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 as a treatment for osteoporosis.
If clinical trials prove that the drug speeds bone healing, it could prove especially important for older adults, who suffer the majority of broken bones that heal slowly.
"In many people, as they get older, their skeleton loses the ability to heal fractures and repair itself," J. Edward Puzas, head of orthopedic bone research at the medical center and the lead investigator for the clinical trial, said in the news release. "With careful application of teriparatide, we believe we've found a way to turn back the clock on fracture healing through a simple, in-body stem cell therapy."
Bracing and immobilization cannot be used for the approximately 60,000 Americans who suffer a pelvic fracture each year.
"It takes three to four months for a typical pelvis fracture to heal," Bukata said. "But, during those three months, patients can be in excruciating pain, because there are no medical devices or other treatments that can provide relief to the patient."
"Imagine if we can give patients a way to cut the time of their pain and immobility in half?" she said.
Speeding the healing time for pelvic fractures could also reduce the risk of death and medical costs.
Pelvic fractures carry the same risk of death as hip fractures. About "one-quarter of all older women with pelvic fractures will die from complications," Bukata said. "And during that year of recovery, a patient typically puts a greater strain on our health-care system, not to mention their pain and suffering."
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more about pe
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