Osteoporosis treatment gives patients an extra 5 years of life

Washington, Feb 3 (ANI): Australian researchers have found that osteoporosis treatment-taking bisphosphonates-not only gives patients a better life but increases their lifespan by five years too.

Jacqueline Center and John Eisman, from Sydney's Garvan Institute of Medical Research, based their findings on data from the long running Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study.

Out of a total cohort of around 2,000, a sub-group of 121 people were treated with bisphosphonates for an average of 3 years. When compared with other sub-groups taking other forms of treatment, such as Vitamin D (with or without calcium) or hormone therapy, the longer life associated with bisphosphonate treatment was marked and clear.

"When we first looked at the figures, we thought that there had to be a fallacy, that we were missing something. One of the most obvious things might be that these are people who seek medical attention, so may be healthier and live longer. So we compared the bisphosphonate group with people taking Vitamin D and calcium or women on hormone therapy," said Center.

"In a group of women with osteoporotic fractures over the age of 75, you would expect 50 percent to die over a period of five years. Among women in that age group who took bisphosphonates, the death rate dropped to 10 percent. Similarly, in a group of younger women, where you would expect 20-25 percent to die over five years, there were no deaths. The data were consistent with about a five year survival advantage for people on bisphosphonates," added Center.

Eisman said, "We speculate that it may have something to do with the fact that bone acts as a repository for toxic heavy metals such as lead and cadmium. So when people get older, they lose bone. When this happens, these toxic materials are released back into the body and may adversely affect health. By preventing bone loss, bisphosphonates prevent some of this toxic metal release. While we know that this is the case, we don't yet have evidence that this produces the survival benefit."

The findings have been published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. (ANI)

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