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New drug for osteoporosis treatment

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Original article

Global sales of osteoporosis treatments, including hundreds of vitamin brands, hit nearly $8.4 billion last year, according to data from IMS Health. About 10 million Americans have osteoporosis.
Dr. Lenore Buckley, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, said all these drugs carry some risks. The studies found denosumab caused eczema in some patients, and a dozen of the women got a serious skin infection, cellulitis, that sometimes required hospitalization for intravenous antibiotics.

A first-of-its-kind new osteoporosis drug lowers the risk of bone fractures better than some existing treatments, two studies suggest, and could soon add a more expensive but easier option to the booming market.

Genetically engineered denosumab could be approved for sale this fall. Only two shots of it are needed each year.
That’s important because many patients stop taking other drugs due to side effects or frequent dosing.

Dr. Jacob Warman, an osteoporosis treatment expert at Brooklyn Hospital Center, said denosumab might have potential as an add-on to osteoporosis treatment drugs and vitamins to boost results. He expects that would be covered by insurers, who pay for multiple medicines for other conditions.
The effectiveness of denosumab and existing drugs appears to plateau after two or three years.
Until recently, studies of osteoporosis drugs just measured changes in bone density, assumed to equate with lower fracture risk.

Newer studies also measure fracture rates, but there are no head-to-head studies on that.
Amgen spokeswoman Kerry Beth Daly said the company has not yet set a price for the new drug for osteoporosis treatment, but will try to keep it affordable.

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