male nurse with elderly lady

First new osteoporosis treatment for over a decade could save NHS millions

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have approved a new treatment for osteoporosis sufferers for the first time in over ten years.

Over 20,000 people will be eligible for the new treatment known as romosozumab, after clinical trial evidence showed that it was more effective at reducing the risk of fractures than using exist methods alone.

Osteoporosis affects more women than men due to the hormone changes that happen during menopause. This directly affects bone density by decreasing it by 2 percent by the age of 50 and by 25 percent by 80.

As well as post-menopause women, other people can be at high risk of developing the condition, with certain factors making people more susceptible to it, such as:

  • Taking steroids for over three months
  • Inflammatory, hormone-related and malabsorption problems
  • Family history of osteoporosis
  • Long term use of anti-oestrogen tablets, common in women who have had breast cancer
  • Eating disorders
  • Heaving smoking or drinking

Currently Alendronic acid is used to treat people with severe osteoporosis after menopause, as well as some other types of medicine like denosumab.

Over 500,000 people receive hospital treatment for fractures caused by osteoporosis each year with it affecting more than three million people in the UK.

Injuries caused as a result of the bone condition is estimated to cost the NHS around £4.4 billion a year according to the NICE impact falls and fragility fractures report.

Helen Knight, acting director for medicines evaluation at NICE, said: “People with severe osteoporosis often have a poorer quality of life. Fractures due to osteoporosis can lead to hospital stays and limit people’s mobility and independence. Romosozumab has shown clinically significant results that could have a huge impact on the lives of people who have severe osteoporosis.

“Romosozumab is the only drug available that can help to form bone as well as increase existing bone strength. It is the first new treatment for osteoporosis for several years and I’m delighted we have been able to recommend this drug as an option for people with severe osteoporosis.”

The clinical trial findings revealed that those who took alendronic acid after romosozumab had a 50 percent lower relative risk of spinal fractures over two years then those who took alendronic acid alone.

The new drug used in combination with existing drugs is expected to reduce injuries caused by osteoporosis which currently causes nine million fractures worldwide each year.

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