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Osteoporosis Drugs Linked to Reduced Risk of Premature Death
August 13, 2019

Taking nitrogen-bisphosphonates is associated with better survival in patients with osteoporosis, according to a study published in Osteoporosis International.

“It is a common misconception that osteoporosis affects only women, and many people choose to not take recommended treatments,” said Jacqueline Center, PhD, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, Sydney, Australia. “[However,] osteoporotic fractures are not benign. Osteoporosis medication not only decreases the risk of further fractures, but it appears that this same medication also decreases mortality rates over the subsequent 15 years.”

To assess the relationship between different bisphosphonate types and mortality risk in patients with or without a fracture, Dana Bluic, PhD, Garvan Institute of Medical Research, and colleagues followed 2,048 women and 308 men on bisphosphonates and 1,970 women and 1,794 men who did not receive medication for osteoporosis from 1995 to 2013. They explored the relationship between bisphosphonates and mortality risk in 3 separate 1:1 propensity score-matched cohorts of bisphosphonate users and no treatment.

The study showed that patients treated with nitrogen-bisphosphonates (alendronate or risedronate) had a 34% reduction in mortality risk compared with patients not taking treatment.

Etidronate was not associated with lower mortality risk.

A direct comparison between nitrogen-bisphosphonates and etidronate also suggested a better survival for patients taking nitrogen-bisphosphonates.

“For many individuals with osteoporosis, bone health is not front-of-mind,” concluded Dr. Bluic. “We hope our study results will encourage people with osteoporosis or at risk of a fracture to seek treatment -- and commit to taking it.”

Reference: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00198-018-4806-0

SOURCE: Garvan Institute of Medical Research