Injection for Better Bones
Reported January 31, 2005
PORTLAND, Ore. (Ivanhoe Broadcast News) — If you are a woman over 50, you have a one in two chance of eventually suffering a fracture caused by osteoporosis. The risk for men is one in four. Medications can lessen the risk, but over time many people stop taking them. Here’s a new way doctors can make osteoporosis medications more appealing to their patients.
After menopause, a scan showed Paula Dungan had low bone density. She thought about taking a prescription pill but worried about side effects. “With one that I was contemplating taking, it might accentuate hot flashes. I wasn’t looking forward to any more of those,” Dungan says.
Instead, she enrolled in a clinical trial testing a new medicine called AMG 162, given through a shot in the skin.
Endocrinologist Michael McClung, M.D., is Dungan’s doctor. He says oral medications can effectively reduce fracture risk, but some women stop taking them, while others complain of stomach upset.
“With osteoporosis medicines, it’s clear that fewer than 50 percent of the people who are given a prescription continue their treatment beyond a year,” Dr. McClung, of Providence Portland Medical Center, tells Ivanhoe.
In his trial of 400 women, the new injection increased bone density as much as the oral medications. But since it’s given through the skin, it does not cause stomach upset. Dr. McClung says there’s another advantage.
“The ability to administer AMG 162 only twice yearly provides the opportunity to get away from the difficulty that we have of people stopping their medication,” he says.
Women receiving AMG 162 reported no more side effects than those who got a placebo injection. It will likely have some side effects, but scientists won’t know for sure until it’s tested on more women. They must also prove the injection actually helps prevent fractures. To do so, they’ll enroll several thousand women in another trial expected to last three years.
If you would like more information, please contact:
Providence Portland Medical Center
4805 NE Glisan
Portland, OR 97213