Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

An extra five years of life an unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment

Date:
February 2, 2011
Source:
Garvan Institute of Medical Research
Summary:
Clinical researchers have noted an extraordinary and unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment -- that people taking bisphosphonates are not only surviving well, better than people without osteoporosis, they appear to be gaining an extra five years of life.

Australian clinical researchers have noted an extraordinary and unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment -- that people taking bisphosphonates are not only surviving well, better than people without osteoporosis, they appear to be gaining an extra five years of life.

Associate Professor Jacqueline Center and Professor 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.

These findings are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, now online.

"While the results seemed surprisingly good, they are borne out by the data -- within the limitations of any study -- and appear to apply to men as well as women," said Associate Professor Center.

"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."

"The comparison against these other groups of similarly health-aware people simply confirmed that our results were not skewed by that factor."

"In a group of women with osteoporotic fractures over the age of 75, you would expect 50% to die over a period of five years. Among women in that age group who took bisphosphonates, the death rate dropped to 10%."

"Similarly, in a group of younger women, where you would expect 20-25% to die over 5 years, there were no deaths."

"The data were consistent with about a 5 year survival advantage for people on bisphosphonates." The authors are intrigued by their findings. "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," said Professor Eisman.

"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."

Osteoporosis is a serious and disabling condition that affects around 2 million Australians. Someone is admitted to hospital with an osteoporotic fracture every 5-6 minutes, averaging 262 hospitalisations each day. It has already been shown by Garvan and others that osteoporotic fractures increase a person's risk of dying, even after relatively minor fractures if that person is elderly.

"Osteoporosis is a big societal burden and remains a poorly understood and severely undertreated disease in Australia," said Eisman.

"Only about 30% of women and 10% of men with osteoporosis receive treatment, which is unacceptable when you consider that people could be helped, and death could be delayed by several years. There is good evidence -- even without this study -- that treating osteoporosis reduces fractures and reduces mortality."

"While osteoporosis is clearly under-recognised and under-treated, the findings of this study are important to better understanding the benefits of these treatments and may directly influence doctors' practice. It was unexpected and remarkable to find that not only osteoporosis but also life expectancy appear to be improved for people taking bisphosphonates," said Dr Christine Bennett, Chair of the Bupa Health Foundation Steering Committee and Bupa Australia's Chief Medical Officer.

Like any pharmaceutical product, bisphosphonates may have unpredictable side effects in a small minority of people and should only be used for their approved purpose.

*Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study

The Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study is an ongoing population-based study that started in 1989 in Dubbo, a city with a population of 32,000 in regional New South Wales. The study cohort is women (1223) and men (898) over the age of 60. Approximately 60% of eligible people were recruited into the study.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Garvan Institute of Medical Research. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Jacqueline R. Center, Dana Bliuc, Nguyen D. Nguyen, Tuan V. Nguyen, and John A. Eisman. Osteoporosis Medication and Reduced Mortality Risk in Elderly Women and Men. J. Clin. Endocrinol. Metab, Feb 2, 2011 DOI: 10.1210/jc.2010-2730

Cite This Page:

Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "An extra five years of life an unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 February 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102703.htm>.
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. (2011, February 2). An extra five years of life an unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102703.htm
Garvan Institute of Medical Research. "An extra five years of life an unexpected benefit of osteoporosis treatment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/02/110202102703.htm (accessed October 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Some Positive Ebola News: Outbreak 'Contained' In Nigeria

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC says a new case of Ebola has not been reported in Nigeria for more than 21 days, leading to hopes the outbreak might be nearing its end. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

UN Ebola Mission Head: Immediate Action Is Crucial

AFP (Sep. 30, 2014) The newly appointed head of the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response (UNMEER), Anthony Banbury, outlines operations to tackle the virus. Duration: 00:39 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

CDC Confirms First Case of Ebola in US

AP (Sep. 30, 2014) The CDC has confirmed the first diagnosed case of Ebola in the United States. The patient is being treated at a Dallas hospital after traveling earlier this month from Liberia. (Sept. 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

New Breast Cancer Drug Extends Lives In Clinical Trial

Newsy (Sep. 30, 2014) In a clinical trial, breast cancer patients lived an average of 15 months longer when they received new drug Perjeta along with Herceptin. 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