Fastest Osteoporosis Drug: Actonel
Actonel Beats Fosamax in Fewest First-Year Fractures After Menopause
WebMD News Archive
Slice of Life -- but Not Proof Positive continued...
"I tend to prescribe Actonel more often than Fosamax, so this study is
reassuring," Thacker tells WebMD.
"We now have some excellent drugs for bone loss. In the bisphosphonate
family, I rank Actonel No. 1, with Fosamax a close second," she says.
"I rank Boniva a distant third, because it has not yet been shown to reduce
All things being equal, Watts and Thacker would prescribe Actonel over
But both of these top doctors point out that not all women are equal. Some
women may tolerate one drug better than another. Or their insurance may pay
more for one than the other.
In either case, women will get the most benefit from the drug that works
best for them.
Watts notes that bone-loss drugs should be taken for many years. But most
patients stop taking them after six or seven months -- greatly reducing their
"When we start someone on osteoporosis treatment, we hope they will
continue taking it for years," Watts says.
"But bone loss is a silent disease -- like high
blood pressure or high
cholesterol. Until something happens, the disease doesn't make them
feel bad, and the drug doesn't make them feel better. That is sometimes hard
for people to accept," he says.
Thacker, too, stresses the importance of long-term treatment. Unlike Watts,
who usually begins drug treatment only when a woman has frank osteoporosis,
Thacker begins as soon as she detects bone loss.
"Once you're starting to lose bone mass, you need to be on
treatment," Thacker says.
"First, we make sure a woman is getting enough calcium and vitamin
D," Thacker says. "But if she is, and she's still losing bone mass, we
start treatment. It is a long-term commitment. The chances are, you will be on
it for a long time."