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 July 23, 2003
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Drug Helps Brittle Bone Disease
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QUEBEC (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A new study shows a drug given intravenously helps patients with brittle bones build muscle.

Osteogenesis imperfecta is also known as brittle bone disease. In severe cases, the disease is seen at birth and can cause newborn babies to have many broken bones. They may also be deformed. Most infants diagnosed with this condition die shortly after birth. The disease can show up later in life in less severe cases. While there is no cure for the disease, recent studies show the drug pamidronate is beneficial to children and adolescents with severe osteogenesis imperfecta. The drug can increase bone mineral density, decrease fracture rates and improve the ability of the patient to get around.

Muscle function and this disease have not received much attention until recently. One study shows muscle strength is low in some patients with osteogenesis imperfecta. Researchers from Shriners Hospital in Quebec conducted a study to determine if the drug pamidronate plays a role in the muscle strength of patients with osteogenesis imperfecta.

The study included 42 patients with severe forms of osteogenesis imperfecta. Patients were treated with intravenous pamidronate infusions given in four monthly cycles. Each cycle consisted of three infusions on three straight days. Researchers measured the grip force of each patient at the beginning of the study, four months after treatment, and two years later.

Researchers found grip force of the patients was low compared to healthy individuals at the beginning of the study. Four months after their first treatment with pamidronate, researchers found grip force of the patients increased significantly. At the two-year mark, grip force scores were not significantly different from the four-month result.

Authors of the study conclude a single cycle of pamidronate increases grip force in patients with osteogenesis imperfecta. They say this grip force is maintained for at least two years after treatment. However, they note the mechanism whereby pamidronate influences muscle force remains to be understood.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers a searchable archive of its medical reports written since 1995. To search, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/search/.

SOURCE: Pediatrics, 2003;111:e601-e603

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