A pill a day could be the answer for building bone as you age. A new study shows the drug alendronate taken daily for 10 years increases bone density in postmenopausal women.Osteoporosis is a chronic, progressive disorder where there is a loss of normal bone density. Drugs, such as alendronate, have been used for years to treat osteoporosis. The current research is the result of following patients taking alendronate for up to a decade.
The research began with a three-year study on women taking the drug or a placebo. Women on the drug continued to receive the drug for the next two years. Then for the next five years, women on 5 milligrams or 10 milligrams of the drug continued with the drug at the same dose, while another group of women received 20 milligrams of the drug for two years. That was followed by 5 milligrams of the drug for three years and then a placebo for the next five years. Researchers say 247 women stayed with the study for the entire 10 years.
The study showed women on 10 milligrams of alendronate daily increased their bone density compared to women not on the drug. Women on 5 milligrams had smaller gains than women on 10 milligrams. In addition, researchers say women who were on the drug and then taken off of it had a gradual loss of their improvements in their bone density.
Researchers say continuous treatment of 10 milligrams of alendronate appears to be the best treatment for postmenopausal women and the key is staying on the drug because once you go off of it the benefits start to diminish.