Osteoporosis :: Study shows drug prevents arthritic bone loss

The Merck and Co. drug Fosamax does a better job at preventing bone deterioration than Vitamin D for people using steroids to treat arthritis, suggests a study released Wednesday.

Researchers found that Fosamax increased the density of bones in the spine by just over two percent in the 100 volunteers who received it along with steroids for 18 months, the study said.

The 101 volunteers treated with alfacalcidol, a form of Vitamin D, saw their density decrease by almost 2 percent over the 18-month period, according to the study led by Ron de Nijs of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands.

A similar trend was seen in other bones, the researchers report in this week’s New England Journal of Medicine.

Although steroids have been known to help relieve joint pain for sufferers of arthritis, doctors have known for years that some steroids such as prednisone can weaken bones.

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