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Study Suggests Osteoporosis Drug Might Treat Loss of Bone in Jaw
Date:10/18/2010

to the woman's bone loss, the authors stated.

The second paper involved 40 patients with severe gum disease that had affected their jaws, all of whom first underwent surgery on their jaw. They were then randomized to receive either Forteo or a placebo. All participants took calcium and vitamin D as well.

"These were patients with severe periodontal disease but who were otherwise systemically healthy," said study senior author Dr. Laurie K. McCauley, chair of the department of periodontic and oral medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

After six weeks of therapy, patients in the Forteo arm saw greater healing of their jawbone and this continued throughout one year of follow-up.

"There was a significant improvement in clinical measures of gum and bone," McCauley stated.

But, she pointed out, Forteo is not yet approved for this indication, so "we can't recommend it next week."

Right now, a bone graft is probably the most common type of therapy for this type of bone loss, she said.

"I think that it's really an important important proof-of-concept that you can inject locally and get a response," said Dr. Rena D'Souza, chair of biomedical sciences at Texas A&M Health Science Center Baylor College of Dentistry in Dallas. "We could not only use this approach for the treatment of periodontal disease where the disease enters the bone and gum. but also other forms of periodontal disease."

"Bisphosphonates cut back on blood flow and blood vessels so that cancer doesn't have a chance," she said. "That is why it's used very effectively for cancer but if you happen to injure the bone or take out a tooth you really need the blood vessels. The bone cells don't have the ability to lay down new bone."

More information

The American Academy of Periodontology has more on gum disease.

SOURCES: Laurie K. McCauley
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