Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Value Of Drugs For Pre-osteoporosis Exaggerated, Experts Warn

Date:
January 20, 2008
Source:
BMJ-British Medical Journal
Summary:
A series of recent scientific publications have exaggerated the benefits and underplayed the harms of drugs to treat pre-osteoporosis or "osteopenia" potentially encouraging treatment in millions of low risk women, warn experts.

A series of recent scientific publications have exaggerated the benefits and underplayed the harms of drugs to treat pre-osteoporosis or "osteopenia" potentially encouraging treatment in millions of low risk women, warn experts in the British Medical Journal.

Related Articles


The authors believe that this represents a classic case of disease-mongering: a risk factor being transformed into a medical disease in order to sell tests and drugs to relatively healthy people.

Osteopenia or "pre-osteoporosis" is said to affect around half of all older women and, in at least one country, drug companies have already begun to market their drugs to women with osteopenia, based on re-analyses of four osteoporosis drug trials.

But the authors of this week's BMJ paper argue that this move raises serious questions about the benefit-risk ratio for low risk individuals, and about the costs of medicalising and potentially treating an enormous group of healthy people.

These reanalyses tend to exaggerate the benefits of drug therapy, they say. For example, the authors of one reanalysis cite a 75% relative risk reduction, though this translates into only a 0.9% reduction in absolute risk.

In other words, up to 270 women with pre-osteoporosis might need to be treated with drugs for three years so that one of them could avoid a single vertebral fracture.

Most of the reanalyses also play down the harms of drug therapy, they add. For example, the reanalysis of data for the drug raloxifene focuses solely on the potential benefits, with no mention of an increased risk of blood clots.

Finally, like much of the published literature on osteoporosis, these analyses have potential conflicts of interest, they write. For instance, all of the original drug trials being re-analysed were funded by industry and, in three out of four cases, drug company employees were part of the team conducting the reanalyses.

The World Health Organisation is currently developing guidance on how to deal with women categorised as having osteopenia. Whether this will stop industry efforts to encourage treatment in low risk women is, however, questionable, they say.

"We need to ask whether the coming wave of marketing targeting those women with pre-osteoporosis will result in the sound effective prevention of fractures or the unnecessary and wasteful treatment of millions more healthy women," they conclude.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BMJ-British Medical Journal. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Value Of Drugs For Pre-osteoporosis Exaggerated, Experts Warn." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 January 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080118093608.htm>.
BMJ-British Medical Journal. (2008, January 20). Value Of Drugs For Pre-osteoporosis Exaggerated, Experts Warn. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080118093608.htm
BMJ-British Medical Journal. "Value Of Drugs For Pre-osteoporosis Exaggerated, Experts Warn." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/01/080118093608.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

WFP: Ebola Risks Heightened Among Women Throughout Africa

AFP (Nov. 21, 2014) Having children has always been a frightening prospect in Sierra Leone, the world's most dangerous place to give birth, but Ebola has presented an alarming new threat for expectant mothers. Duration: 00:37 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

Raw: Paralyzed Marine Walks With Robotic Braces

AP (Nov. 21, 2014) Marine Corps officials say a special operations officer left paralyzed by a sniper's bullet in Afghanistan walked using robotic leg braces in a ceremony to award him a Bronze Star. (Nov. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins