Osteoporosis is a disease in which the bones get prominently weaker and are at a risk of getting fractured easily. Statistics show that one out of twenty people suffer from this disease in the U.K. Women suffer from this disease more than men.Bisphosphonates are the class od drugs used to treat osteoporosis.
This group of drugs plays a key role in protecting weakened bones of women past menopausal age. Such women face the risk of fractures due to changes in the hormones in their body that adversely affects their bones. Journal of the American Medical Association published the study.
Doctors have often been hesitant to categorically state how long a person should be put on these drugs. It was the regulatory body National Institute for health and Clinical Excellence, NICE that insisted that a consensus regarding an optimum time period for treatment of osteoporosis using Bisphosphonates should be reached. The institute also demanded that clinical researchers should determine the ideal age to begin treatment and the optimum duration to continue treatment.
The recent study conducted to find out these specifications points out that women who stopped using a bisphosphonate named alendronate after using it regularly for half a decade seemed to have the same incidence of fractures of spine as those who continued using it for a indefinite time period. Over thousand women took part in the research for a period of ten years.
The scientists, however, cautioned that women who have a strong chance of suffering spinal fractures would benefit from using the beneficial drug for a longer period.
Spine fractures can be extremely painful. They seem to be allayed by continuing the treatment using Bisphosphonates.The benefit however seems negligible. Only 5% of women who did not continue treatment ended up having a spinal fracture and 2.5% of those who continued medication still suffered a spinal fracture .
The studies reveal that bisphosphonates do not trigger off any potentially hazardous side effects even when used long term for up to a decade.
Professor Dennis Black, the lead researcher opined that the results were quite conclusive in terms of understanding clearly how much time a patient should be put on these drugs for a desired benefit. Professor Black is from the University of California.