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Nitroglycerin May Increase Bone Density

Study Shows Heart Treatment May Have Benefit as Bone-Building Medicine

Nitroglycerin for Bones continued...

The group taking the nitroglycerin also had an increase in a marker of bone formation and a decrease in a marker for bone loss.

Headache was the most common side effect reported by those in the nitroglycerin group, with 35% of participants complaining of it compared to 5.4% in the placebo group in the first month. Over time, the headaches in the treated women declined.

The study was funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research and the Physicians' Services Incorporated.

Jamal has received support for board membership from Novartis, Amgen, and Warner-Chilcott and has been a consultant for Genzyme, Warner-Chilcott, Novartis, and Shire.

Too Early to Recommend as Treatment

The study results are ''very intriguing," says Sundeep Khosla, MD, a professor of medicine at the College of Medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. He wrote an editorial to accompany the study results.

However, he adds, it ''would be a little premature to start using this." The effect of the medicine on fracture risk needs more study, he tells WebMD.

For now, the good news of the new research may be for those women already taking nitroglycerin to relieve angina, he says. "If a woman is already on nitroglycerin for heart disease -- she has to take it anyway -- maybe she can take some comfort in the fact it may be helping her bones also.”

Khosla has served on a scientific advisory board for Amgen, which makes Prolia, an osteoporosis medicine.

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