New Treatments that Offer Increased Hope for Osteoperosis Patients


(ARA) – For a time, hormone replacement therapy (the administration of estrogen either alone or in combination with other hormones) served as the preferred treatment for post-menopausal women hoping to reduce the progression of osteoporosis, a debilitating and inevitable bone-thinning disorder.

Yet the latest findings from the prematurely halted Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) study on hormone replacement therapy alarmed many women. The study concluded that an estrogen and progestin combination used by thousands increased the risk of breast cancer, blood clots, heart attacks, and strokes when taken over a long period of time.

Osteoperosis is drastically accelerated during menopause and is the third leading cause of death of women over 70. By age 55, the average woman has already lost 30 percent of her bone mass.

Eventually, bone loss can progress to the point where bones become so thin that they are susceptible to fracture from even the slightest trauma. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, one out of every two women over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in her lifetime.

Caucasian and Asian women are more likely to develop osteoporosis. However, African American and Hispanic women are at significant risk for developing the disease. Additionally, small-boned and thin women (under 127 pounds) are at greater risk for osteoporosis.

Many women are now searching for a safe alternative to hormone replacement therapy to alleviate the effects of osteoporosis. Current treatments on the market such as bisphosphonates and SERMs (estrogen-related therapies) have safety issues and focus primarily on slowing bone loss.

Another existing treatment option is calcitonin, a naturally occurring hormone involved in calcium regulation and bone metabolism. In women who are more than five years beyond menopause calcitonin slows bone loss, increases spinal bone density and, according to recent studies, reduces the risk of spinal fractures.

In recent trials, calcitonin demonstrated a 62 percent reduction in the incidence of new vertebral fractures for a subgroup of women over 75, one of the most significant reductions demonstrated by any current osteoporosis therapy.

In addition, calcitonin is the only osteoporosis therapy that can reduce the significant bone pain often associated with osteoporosis. Because calcitonin is a peptide, it cannot be taken orally because it would be digested before it could exert its therapeutic effect.

Currently calcitonin is available as an injection or nasal spray. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is currently reviewing FORTICAL, a unique nasal calcitonin product developed by Unigene Laboratories, and Unigene is also developing an oral form of the product.

A new therapeutic option is parathyroid hormone (PTH), which can rebuild bone mass that has been lost due to osteoporosis. PTH has proven to increase the volume and strength of honeycomb-shaped bone mass located within the bone.

This inner mesh contains blood vessels and bone marrow and begins to diminish after menopause. PTH helps reduce the incidence of fractures by restoring some of the lost bone architecture. Currently, PTH therapy is available only via daily injections. Unigene Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline are jointly developing a PTH treatment that can be administered orally.

“Calcitonin has a proven, 25-year record of safe human use with virtually no side effects, and can be taken simultaneously with other medications,” said Dr. Warren Levy, president and CEO of Unigene. “After the WHI study, safety has become an even more important consideration because once a therapy is initiated, it should ideally be taken for life.”

For more information on osteoperosis and treatment options, please log on to www.unigene.com. Courtesy of ARA Content




Can osteoporosis be cured?

Osteoporosis treatment

There’s no cure for osteoporosis, but proper treatment can help protect and strengthen your bones. These treatments can help slow the breakdown of bone in your body, and some treatments can spur the growth of new bone.

What is the life expectancy of a person with osteoporosis?

The average life expectancy of osteoporosis patients is in excess of 15 years in women younger than 75 years and in men younger than 60 years, highlighting the importance of developing tools for long-term management.

How serious is osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. Osteoporosis leads to hip fractures and, according to Sellmeyer, around 25 percent of people die within the first six to 12 months after a hip fracture.

What are the early warning signs of osteoporosis?

** Osteoporosis Symptoms

* Back pain, caused by a fractured or collapsed vertebra.

* Loss of height over time.

* A stooped posture.

* A bone that breaks much more easily than expected.

What not to eat if you have osteoporosis?

7 Foods to Avoid When You Have Osteoporosis

* Salt.

* Caffeine.

* Soda.

* Red Meat.

* Alcohol.

* Wheat Bran.

* Liver and Fish Liver Oil.

Should I worry if I have osteoporosis?

Talk with your doctor about an earlier scan if you have any warning signs or risk factors for osteoporosis: a bone fracture after age 50. sudden back pain. loss of height or increasingly stooped posture.

Can you lead a normal life with osteoporosis?

But “you can live with osteoporosis for a long, long time and never have complications such as fractures — if you take certain precautions,” says Felicia Cosman, MD, osteoporosis expert and medical director of the clinical research center at Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, N.Y.

Will osteoporosis shorten my life?

Osteoporosis that leads to compression fractures will shorten your lifespan. Research clearly shows that people who fall and collapse a vertebra die sooner than people of the same age who do not have compression fractures,” says Isador H.

What is osteoporosis pain like?

Back or neck pain

Osteoporosis can cause compression fractures of the spine. These fractures can be very painful because the collapsed vertebrae may pinch the nerves that radiate out from the spinal cord. The pain symptoms can range from minor tenderness to debilitating pain.

What should you not do if you have osteoporosis?

With low bone density or osteoporosis, you should avoid:

* Rounding poses or rounded spine movements.

* Spine twist or any deep twists.

* Corkscrew or bicycle.

* Deep hip stretches (like the pigeon pose)

* Warrior pose.

* Overpressure from teachers.

What does Stage 4 osteoporosis mean?

The fourth stage of osteopenia and osteoporosis

Without any intervention, osteoporosis can progress to stage four. During this stage the effects of significant bone loss become visible. Softening of the bones and accumulated fragility fractures, especially in the spine, results in deformity.

What age do you develop osteoporosis?

At some point, usually around age 35, women start to lose bone. While some bone is lost each year, the rate of bone loss increases dramatically in the 5 to 10 years after menopause. Then, for several years, the breakdown of bone occurs at a much greater pace than the building of new bone.

What happens if osteoporosis is left untreated?

Osteoporosis left untreated increases the likelihood of fractures. Simple actions such as sneezing or coughing, making a sudden turn, or bumping into a hard surface can result in a fracture. This can make you feel like you’re walking on eggshells and cause you to refrain from participating in activities that you enjoy.

Can drinking milk help osteoporosis?

Previous research has shown that the calcium in milk can help strengthen bones and prevent osteoporosis. These benefits to bone health have led U.S. health officials to recommend milk as part of a healthy diet.

What are the best foods to eat when you have osteoporosis?

Your dietary sources of calcium are:

Dairy products: milk, yogurt, cheese and calcium-fortified cottage cheese.

Green leafy vegetables: broccoli, kale, collard greens, dried figs, turnip greens, and mustard greens.

Fish: canned salmon and sardines with the bones.

Nuts: almonds and Brazil nuts.

Does osteoporosis make you feel tired?

Following a fracture, bones tend to heal within six to eight weeks but pain and other physical problems, such as pain and tiredness or fatigue, may continue.

Does osteoporosis affect feet?

When people think of osteoporosis, they may think of it in relation to the spine and hips—quite possibly the wrists and ribs, as well. However, osteoporosis can also affect your feet. In fact, seemingly unexplained foot fractures may be an early indication that you have osteoporosis.

What exercise is not good for osteoporosis?

If you have osteoporosis, don’t do the following types of exercises: High-impact exercises. Activities such as jumping, running or jogging can lead to fractures in weakened bones. Avoid jerky, rapid movements in general.

What exercises should you do for osteoporosis?

Osteoporosis Exercise for Strong Bones

* Dancing.

* Doing high-impact aerobics.

* Hiking.

* Jogging/running.

* Jumping Rope.

* Stair climbing.

* Tennis.

Does osteoporosis affect your brain?

A newly published large-scale study has found that osteoporosis significantly increases the risk of developing dementia.

How does osteoporosis affect the nervous?

In serious cases of spinal osteoporosis, the nervous system is affected and you may experience numbness, tingling, or weakness. If you have severe kyphosis, you may also experience difficulty walking and problems with balance, which means you are at increased risk of falling and breaking other bones, such as the hips.