Bone Builder: Drug may offer steroid users new protection against fractures

1:28pm, November 14, 2007

In the half-century since their introduction to medicine, glucocorticoid steroids have been hailed as wonder drugs that have enabled millions of people to combat rheumatoid arthritis, severe asthma, autoimmune diseases, and organ-transplant complications. But the drugs have some serious risks, notably the bone-loss disease osteoporosis. The steroids hamper—and may even kill—bone-building cells.

To stop bone loss, many people take drugs that preserve existing bone, but a newer drug, teriparatide (Forteo), activates bone-building cells instead. A new study finds that boosting bone growth may be the more effective choice for longtime steroid users who have developed osteoporosis.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.

More from Science News