Updated 04 July 2014

Risk with long-used osteoporosis drug

US drug agency panel narrowly votes against benefits of decades-old bone strengthening drug.


A panel of US government health experts says a long-established bone strengthening drug should no longer be used by women because there is little evidence it works and it may actually increase the risk of cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 12-9 that the risks of the inhalable osteoporosis drug outweigh its benefits for postmenopausal women with brittle bones.

The drug, known chemically as calcitonin salmon, has been prescribed for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women since the 1980s. Currently the drug is sold in nasal spray form by Novartis and Upsher-Smith.

But the health authorities around the world have been reviewing the drug's safety after two recent studies showed a slightly higher rate of cancer among patients taking calcitonin pills.



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Tereza is the CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation and worked as a Nursing Sister in the field of Osteoporosis for 18 years prior to her appointment with the Foundation. She used to be the Educational Officer for the Foundation and co-wrote the patient brochure on Osteoporosis. Read more

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