Osteoporosis Drug Shows Promise, No Side Effects

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 11, 2009 4:22 PM CDT
A broken bone.   (AP Photo)

(Newser) – An experimental drug could drastically decrease the risk of bone breakage in osteoporosis sufferers, Time reports. Two trials of the drug denosumab in groups at high risk for the disease—men receiving testosterone-depleting treatment for prostate cancer and post-menopausal women—reduced the risk of fracture by more than 50%, with no side effects. Other drugs carry the risk of cancer. Denosumab is currently under review by the FDA.

The male study group had a 62% lower risk of spinal fracture over 3 years than the control; for the female group, that number was 68%. “This really addresses an unmet medical need for fracture prevention in men receiving androgen-deprivation therapy for prostate cancer,” one of the authors says. The new therapy is only as effective as a once-a-year injection already on the market, but its lack of side effects could make it a safer alternative. (Read more prostate cancer stories.)