No Osteoporosis Drug Proven Best
Over a Dozen Drugs Studied; None Emerges as Best Osteoporosis Treatment
WebMD News Archive
Dec. 17, 2007 -- There is no proof that the most widely prescribed
osteoporosis drugs work better than other
drug treatments for the prevention of bone fractures.
That is the finding from a new report funded by the U.S. government's Agency
for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).
Based on an analysis of studies examining the risks and benefits of six
bisphosphonates and other osteoporosis drugs, researchers concluded that while
many medications reduced the risk of bone fractures in people with
osteoporosis, no single drug or drug class was clearly superior.
They noted that there was not enough data to determine if the
bisphosphonates were better for preventing fractures than hormone-based
The popular osteoporosis drugs Fosamax and Boniva are
bisphosphonates, which work by slowing the natural process that breaks down
The researchers included in their analysis studies involving Fosamax,
Boniva, four other bisphosphonates (Didronel, Aredia, Actonel, and Reclast), the
man-made hormone calcitonin, the selective estrogen receptor modulators Evista
and tamoxifen, parathyroid hormone, estrogen, testosterone, calcium, and
"The fact is, there have been very few head-to-head trials done to
compare any of these agents," study author Catherine MacLean, MD, PhD, of
the RAND Corp., tells WebMD. "It is expensive to do these trials. On the
other hand, these are also expensive agents, and as consumers we have the right
to know which ones work best."