Which Osteoporosis Drug is Best?

Tuesday, 03 Dec 2013 01:38 PM

By Nick Tate

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A study new comparing the effectiveness of two popular osteoporosis drugs has found that denosumab (marketed as Prolia) was better at increasing spine bone mineral density than zoledronic acid (Zometa, Reclast), which also caused more flulike symptoms.

But the study, presented recently at the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research's annual meeting, found patients who took both drugs were equally satisfied with their medicine.
"This study helped us quantify the efficacy and adverse effects of these two drugs providing further guidance for physicians who prescribe these treatments," said Pauline Camacho, M.D.,  director of the Osteoporosis & Metabolic Bone Disease Center at Loyola University Health System. "While this was the first head-to-head comparison of these two treatments, larger prospective studies will be needed to confirm these findings."
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For the study, researchers performed surveyed 107 patients and reviewed their medical charts to compare the efficacy, patient satisfaction, cost and known adverse effects of taking denosumab versus zoledronic acid — including muscle pain, back pain, and flulike symptoms. The denosumab and zoledronic acid groups were similar in all areas but spine bone mineral density (which was greater in the denosumab group) and flulike symptoms (reported by 29 percent of patients in the zoledronic acid takers).
"Both groups of patients were satisfied with their treatment despite the discrepancies in the drugs," said Kellen Sheedy, one of the study researchers.
The Food and Drug Administration approved denosumab in 2010 for postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. It is injected every six months and works by limiting bone loss and fracture risk.
Zoledronic acid was approved by the FDA in 2007 for osteoporosis. This treatment is administered intravenously once every 12 months and works by interfering with the bone-breakdown process.

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