Entries in Osteoporosis (9)


Girls Who Smoke at Increased Risk of Osteoporosis?

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(CINCINNATI) -- If you're a female, and a teenager, and you smoke -- you could be setting yourself up for problems that already affect women disproportionately, according to a new study.

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to become fragile and more prone to break. It's much more common in women than men, and now a study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health finds that girls who smoke put themselves at an even greater disadvantage.

Scientists led by Dr. Lorah Dorn at the Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center studied 262 healthy girls between the ages of 11 and 17 for three years.  Over time, they found that girls who smoke showed decreased bone density, which could lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

The teenage years are crucial in a woman's bone formation because a girl gains as much bone in the first two years surrounding her first menstrual cycle as she loses in the last 40 years as an adult.  Women begin with lower bone density than men, and they lose bone more quickly as they age.  Consequently, the study authors say teen girls shouldn't give the process a head start by smoking.

The study also looked at symptoms of depression and alcohol consumption, and found that depressive symptoms also increase osteoporosis risk, but alcohol has no impact.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


FDA Warning: Reumofan Supplements Contain Risky Drugs

Agencia el Universal/El Universal de Mexico/Newscom(NEW YORK) -- Consumers searching for a miracle cure for the aches and pains of arthritis should beware: The FDA has issued a new warning about the potential health risks of Reumofan and Reumofan Plus, two products marketed as natural dietary supplements for treating arthritis, muscle pain, osteoporosis, bone cancer and other conditions.

The FDA said it found both supplements contain several potentially dangerous ingredients that are not listed on the label. Since the first warning was issued in June, consumers have begun to speak up.

"The FDA has received dozens of additional adverse event reports, including death and stroke, associated with the use of Reumofan Plus," said Sarah Clark-Lynn, an FDA spokesperson. "Other reports include liver injury, severe bleeding, sudden worsening of glucose (sugar) control, weight gain, swelling, leg cramps and withdrawal syndrome, and adrenal suppression."

FDA lab analysis of the products revealed the presence of several prescription drugs that are linked to serious side effects, the agency said.

Dexamethasone, a corticosteroid commonly used to treat inflammatory conditions, can weaken the immune system, elevate blood sugar levels and increase the risk of bone and muscle injuries. It's also been associated with psychiatric problems.

When taken over long periods of time or in high doses, the drug may damage the adrenal glands, impairing their ability to produce hormones. Sudden discontinued use, especially when the drug has been taken long-term or in high doses, may lead to withdrawal syndrome, with users experiencing fatigue, nausea, low blood pressure, low blood sugar levels, fever, dizziness, and muscle and joint pain.

Diclofenac sodium, a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) also detected in the supplements, increases the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke, as well as serious gastrointestinal problems including bleeding, ulceration, and fatal perforation of the stomach and intestines. Additionally, the analysis found the muscle relaxant methocarbamol, which can cause drowsiness, dizziness, low blood pressure, and impair mental or physical abilities to perform tasks, such as driving a motor vehicle or operating machinery.

Tests on samples of Reumofan Plus found it contained diclofenac sodium and methocarbamol, the FDA said.

"The hidden drug ingredients in Reumofan Plus and Reumofan Plus Premium can lead to serious, even life-threatening, health consequences. The longer you take the products, the higher the risk," Clark-Lynn said. "Because of the hidden corticosteroid, consumers taking these products are urged to immediately consult with their doctor to safely discontinue use of the product."

Dr. Stephen Dahmer, an integrated medicine family physician in private practice at the Continuum Center for Health and Healing, Beth Israel Medical Center, said supplements can be as dangerous as medications. "Anyone can have an adverse or allergic reaction to almost any supplement so you do need to be careful about what you take and make sure you only buy reputable, high-quality brands," he said.

None of his patients has taken Reumofan but he urged anyone with osteoarthritis to steer clear. And he said he's on the lookout for symptoms in patients who suffer from arthritis in case they've taken the pills without telling him.

The supplements are manufactured in Mexico by the company Riger Naturals. They are usually labeled in Spanish but may also be labeled in English. In the U.S., GNC, Vitamin Shoppe and other large national retailers don't appear to be carrying the products either on the shelves or on their websites, but they can easily be purchased on supplement websites or eBay.

The Mexican Ministry of Health issued its own health warning to the public about Reumofan and has ordered Riger Naturals to recall the products. The FDA is asking doctors and consumers to report any side effects related to the two supplements to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Moderate Alcohol Consumption May Help Women's Bones, Joints

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Two new studies suggest that drinking alcohol can help ward off two diseases that affect millions of women: rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis.  But the research is among several studies that paint a confusing picture of how alcohol affects women's health.  Doctors say the key, as always, is moderation.

One of the studies investigated alcohol consumption and its effect on rheumatoid arthritis in more than 34,000 Swedish women between the ages of 54 and 89.  The researchers had contacted the women in 1987 and 1997, surveying them about their alcohol use.  Then they started keeping close tabs on the women, scouring Swedish national registries for those who were diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis between 2003 and 2009.

The women who reported moderate alcohol consumption -- those drinking 17 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.7 ounces of liquor three times or more each week -- had a 52 percent decreased risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis compared with those who never drank at all.

The researchers noticed that the women who drank more alcohol were also more likely to smoke, which is a risk factor for rheumatoid arthritis.  But they found that moderate drinking reduced the risk for current smokers to 33 percent, though the benefits of the alcohol were not as marked for smokers as for never-smokers, for whom moderate drinking reduced RA risk by 62 percent.

The study was published Tuesday in the British Medical Journal.

A small group of women in Oregon who had a few drinks each week also seemed to benefit in a surprising place: their bones.

Researchers at Oregon State University studied 40 postmenopausal women under age 65 who reported drinking up to two drinks per day in the year before the study, watching what happened when they asked these women to stop drinking for two weeks.

When these regular moderate drinkers cut out alcohol, the researchers found that their blood showed higher levels of biomarkers linked to bone turnover, a natural process that goes awry when more bone is lost than is replaced, which leads to osteoporosis.  When the women started drinking again, their bone turnover seemed to improve even after one day of moderate alcohol consumption.

Ursula Iwaniec, one of the authors of the study, published Wednesday in the journal Menopause, said alcohol seemed to benefit these postmenopausal women, but it may not be the best solution for women hoping to improve their bone health.

"I wouldn't start drinking just for this reason that it's going to make my bones better," she said.

That moderate drinking seems to affect women's health is not surprising.  Alcohol raises levels of estrogen, the hormone that affects many aspects of women's health, including arthritis and osteoporosis.  Alcohol also raises the "good" cholesterol, HDL, and can have positive effects on blood pressure and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

But the news on booze is not all good.  Recent studies have found that even one drink a day raises a woman's risk of breast cancer.  Experts also note that alcohol is liquid calories, and drinking too much contributes to weight gain and other factors of unhealthy lifestyles.  And although alcoholism is diagnosed less frequently in women than in men, women are at higher risk because alcohol has a greater effect on their bodies.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Researchers Identify 32 New Genetic Regions Linked to Fractures and Osteoporosis

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) – Researchers have identified 32 new genetic regions linked to fractures and osteoporosis, Health Day reports.

The authors of the study reported that variations in these regions could help protect against or increase the risk for bone-weakening disease and said that new osteoporosis drugs could be developed as a result of the findings. Researchers, however, pointed out that it would still not be easy to predict who is at a higher risk of bone disease, says Health Day.

The study is published in the April 15 online edition of Nature Genetics.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Microchip Could Replace Osteoporosis Shots

Peter Dazeley/Getty Images(BOSTON) -- A microchip could one day change the way many of the 10 million Americans living with osteoporosis manage their symptoms.

One of the greatest challenges of treating osteoporosis by injection is remembering to take the medicine. But a new experimental implantable microchip that releases medication makes it possible to set it and forget it.  

In a first of its kind study, Massachusetts researchers implanted the experimental microchip in the waistline of seven women with osteoporosis. The chip released precise dosages of the osteoporosis drug teriparatide, commonly known as Forteo, either prescheduled or triggered remotely by radio communication.

“It enables telemedicine, in which physicians can keep track of their patients and modify as needed,” said Robert Farra, president and chief operating officer at Michochips Inc. in Waltham, Mass., which makes the experimental microchip and funded the study.

The daily injections increased bone formation in all seven women, according to the study published Thursday in Science Translational Medicine.

The chip, equivalent to the size of a computer flash drive, remained in place for four months. The women didn’t even feel the chip and they experienced no side effects, according to the researchers.

The women were auto-injected with the medication daily for up to 20 days.

These women may have been given more consistent doses compared to standard self-delivered injections, according to the study.  However, the study did not compare the participants’ doses and quality of life to those who use standard injections.

Although this preliminary study tested the microchip device on only seven women, the researchers said it sets up more efficient ways for patients to self-administer their own medication, and even for doctors to better monitor their patients’ treatments.

The microchip is not currently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Further tests still need to prove it is just as safe and effective in a larger group of people.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Drug Delays Prostate Cancer Spread to Bones

Pixland/Thinkstock(CAMBRIDGE, Mass.) -- A new drug administered to prostate cancer patients has been found to delay the spread of cancer to the bones, according to a new study published in the Lancet.

The drug, known as denosumab, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treatment of osteoporosis and prevention of fractures with bone metastases from solid tumors. Researchers believed it had potential to slow the progression of prostate cancer to the bones. Previous science has revealed that inhibiting of the cells that cause resorption of the bone can reduce the risk of the cancer's spread to the bone.

"Prostate cancer patients who develop bone metastases usually have poor outcomes, so preventing the development of metastasis has been a major unmet clinical need," Dr. Matthew Smith, lead author of the study and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, said in a statement. "This first demonstration of a treatment that can meet the goal is a significant accomplishment that should lead to better treatment strategies."

Smith serves as a consultant for Amgen, which marketed the drug and funded the study.

The research was based on more than 1,400 study participants from 30 different countries who were randomly assigned to receive injection treatments of the drug or a placebo each month over a two-year study period, when patients underwent bone scans and skeletal surveys to analyze the presence of metastases. The men who participated in the study did not have tumors that had metastatized, but their cancer had not responded to hormone therapy.

The drug appeared to increase bone-metastasis-free survival by an average of four months more than the men who took the placebo.  It did not increase survival overall, though.  But patients were taken off the treatment when the cancer metastasized, which could explain the incongruous findings, experts said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Active Girls Twice as Likely to Experience Stress Fractures

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(BOSTON) -- Young girls who participate in physical activities for several hours a week are twice as likely to suffer from a stress fracture than girls who do not, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

Researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital followed 6,800 adolescent girls for seven years and found that those who were physically active for eight or more hours a week were more likely to develop the injury.  The increased risk for stress fractures was specifically associated with running, basketball, cheerleading and gymnastics.

The study also found that young girls with a history of osteoporosis in their family were almost twice as likely to develop a stress fracture, putting them at an even higher risk if they also engage in the specified sports.  These girls are advised to lower their fracture risk by incorporating more lower-impact activities into their weekly routines.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


New Osteoporosis Screening Guidelines Suggested

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S Preventive Services Task Force has updated screening recommendations for osteoporosis, a disease that reduces the mineral density in bones.  Osteoporosis is most common in women after menopause. 

After a review of medical studies in the last eight years, the new standards say that, as before, all women 65 and older should be routinely screened for osteoporosis. Women under 65 should also be screened if their risk of bone fracture is as high or greater than 65-year-old white women who have higher rates of the disease than other ethnic groups. 

The task force made no recommendation for the frequency of screenings, citing a lack of evidence.  And for the same reason,  no guidelines  were set for osteoporosis screening  in men. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


FDA Warns Patients About Osteoporosis Drugs

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday cautioned patients and health care providers about the the possible risks of "atypical thigh bone (femoral) fracture" in patients who take bisphosphonates, a class of drugs used to prevent and treat osteoporosis.

While the FDA is uncertain about the causal relationship between bisphosphonates and atypical femur fractures, there has been an alarming amount of thigh bone fracture reports in patients taking bisphosphonates.

"The FDA is continuing to evaluate data about the safety and effectiveness of bisphosphonates when used long-term for osteoporosis treatment," said RADM Sandra Kweder, M.D., deputy director of the Office of New Drugs in the FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. 

Dr. Kweder continues, "In the interim, it's important for patients and health care professionals to have all the safety information available when determining the best course of treatment for osteoporosis."

The FDA says a labeling change and Medication Guide, which will only affect bisphosphonates approved for osteoporosis, will reflect the potential risk.

Copyright 2010 ABC News Radio

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