The bone- strengthening drug fosamax (Bifosa) was initially lauded as a major breakthrough for women with osteoporosis. But doctors discovered that patients often stopped their prescription because of the drug's rigid dosing instructions: It was supposed to be taken upon waking 30 minutes before eating, and downed with plenty of water. To top it off, the drug can cause severe indigestion.
So scientists tried giving women a week's dose at once, enrolling 1200 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis in a two-year international trial (medical centres from the US to France participated).
They found that taking one pill a week could protect bone just as well. And related research, a four- year survey of 180 patients, confirmed everyone's suspicion: People are far more likely to stick with a once-a-week schedule. The drug has already been approved for weekly dosage by the US government.