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 July 23, 2003
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Therapy for Weak Bones
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PITTSBURGH (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- A combination therapy may be a better option for women with severe osteoporosis. A new study published in this week's issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association shows hormone replacement and alendronate, a drug prescribed for increasing bone mass, yielded greater improvements in bone mineral density at the spine and hip than either therapy alone.

Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center analyzed data from 373 women, ages 65 to 90. Participants randomly received hormone therapy and 10 milligrams daily of alendronate, one of those agents alone, or neither. All participants received calcium and vitamin D supplements.

Results of the study show bone mineral density after three years was significantly greater in women treated with the combination therapy than with monotherapy. The average increases of bone mass were 5.9 percent at the hip, 10.4 percent at the postero-anterior lumbar spine, and 11.8 percent at the lateral lumbar spine.

In addition, average increases in bone mass at the hip in women treated with alendronate alone were greater than in those treated with hormone therapy alone (4.2 percent vs. 3 percent), and alendronate resulted in more responders to therapy.

Researchers conclude the combination therapy is safe and effective. However, they caution the study was too small to detect differences in rare but serious adverse events such as myocardial infarction or venous thrombosis.

This article was reported by Ivanhoe.com, who offers Medical Alerts by e-mail every day of the week. To subscribe, go to: http://www.ivanhoe.com/newsalert/.

SOURCE: Journal of the American Medical Association, 2003;289:2525-2533

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