may Benefit From New Drug - Two Injections of Denosumab per Year will
Increase Bone Mass in Postmenopausal Women
New research has found that an investigational therapy for bone loss,
denosumab, demonstrated significant increases in bone mineral density (BMD)
in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. A person’s BMD can be an
indicator for fracture risk, according to a study published in the Feb.
23, 2006 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine.
Denosumab is a RANK Ligand inhibitor under development by Amgen. Ligand
is a protein that is the primary “mediator” of osteoclast formation,
function and survival. These osteoclasts are responsible for bone
This study is in the second stage and the researchers were able to
demonstrate that “denosumab provides rapid and sustained responses of
bone metabolism in patients with low BMD.” Denosumad can be
administered twice yearly and will increase total hip, spine, distal
1/3 radius and total body BMD similar to current therapy.
The subcutaneous injections of denosumab increased BMD at the lumbar
spine from 3.0 to 6.7 percent after 12 months as compared with a
decrease of 0.8 percent with placebo. The researchers also saw an
improvement in hip BMD from 1.9 to 3.6 percent in women who received
denosumab compared with a decrease of 0.6 percent in the placebo group.
The drug also acted quickly. According to the study “denosumab had a
rapid onset of action, inhibiting the action of osteoclasts within 72
hours”. Dr. Michael McClung, MD said “The ability to control bone
metabolism and increase BMD so effectively with such a convenient dosing
regimen shows a potential advantage of this therapeutic strategy over
current therapies." Dr. McClung is the principal investigator of the
denosumab study and director of Oregon Osteoporosis Center at Providence
Portland Medical Center in Portland, Oregon.
The adverse side effects were similar to those of the placebo and
Fosamax. Because the drug is injected under the skin, the patients
would avoid the gastrointestinal upset which is a side effect of the
currently prescribed osteoporosis medications known as bisphosphonates.
By Dan Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer
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