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Thursday, 1 February, 2001, 01:54 GMT
Cutting the risk of fractures
Elderly women at fracture risk
A new drug could cuts the risk of hip fractures in the elderly
Elderly women with osteoporosis could cut their risk of suffering a hip fracture by 60% if they take the drug risedronate.

Scientists have found that women with established osteoporosis could cut the risk of hip fractures dramatically.

The research, published in The New England Journal of Medicine, has been warmly welcomed by the National Osteoporosis Society (NOS).

Linda Edwards, director of NOS said: "Hip fractures can have a devastating and lasting impact on quality of life.

"The National Osteoporosis Society is pleased to welcome this good scientific evidence which confirms a new treatment option for preventing hip fractures."

Osteoporosis, which attacks bone density, currently affects one in three women and one in eight men.


Hip fractures can have a devastating and lasting impact on quality of life

Linda Edwards, National Osteoporosis Society

The international scientists looked at 9,300 women world-wide and found that the women taking risedronate were at less of a risk than those who didn't.

Never too late

Dr Silvano Adami, co-author of the Hip Intervention Program (HIP) study and chair of rheumatology at Verona University, said their trial had shown that the drug could be used at all stages of osteoporosis.

Osteoporosis facts
1 in 3 women and 1 in 8 men affected
Spines, hips and wrists most at risk
90% of hip fractures occur in the over 50's
Every 2 minutes someone suffers a fracture due to osteoporosis
Fractures caused by osteoporosis cost the NHS more than 1.8 billion each year
Hip fracture patients occupy 800,000 hospital bed night each year in England alone
"These results show that even if the disease is advanced and the patient is elderly it is never too late to treat them with risedronate."

"The results of this study show that risedronate is an effective medication for the prevention of hip fractures in elderly osteoporotic women, the effects of which are often debilitating," he said.

The women in the trial were split into two groups - one aged 70-79 and the others aged 80 and above.

Scientists found that osteoporosis sufferers in both groups taking the drug made by Proctor and Gamble had a lower risk - reduced by 60% among the under 80 year olds.

The drug also cut the risks for the younger non- osteoporosis sufferers by 40%.

But scientists found there were no significant benefits for the older non-osteoporosis sufferers.

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See also:

24 Aug 99 | Medical notes
Osteoporosis
16 Sep 99 | Health
Salt linked to osteoporosis
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