The need to take a once-a-day or even once-a-month osteoporosis medication may soon be eliminated. Recent studies indicate that a once-a-year osteoporosis injection of zoledronic acid like Reclast® can prevent spine fractures and hip fractures from osteoporosis. In a 3-year study conducted by the manufacturer of Reclast®, Novartis, it was determined that there was a 70% reduction of spine fractures and 40% reduction of hip fractures in a group of 7,736 postmenopausal women.

Reclast® - now approved by the FDA - is a bisphosphonate, a class of drugs that is used to treat osteoporosis; a class that also includes medications such as Boniva, Fosamax and Actonel. According to the FDA, more than half of postmenopausal women on daily or weekly biphosphonates will discontinue osteoporosis treatment after one year, leading to a higher risk of fractures. Given as a 15-minute infusion, the Reclast® (zoledronic acid) injection for osteoporosis has the benefit of long-lasting protection.

Reclast® was originally used in the treatment of metastatic bone cancer and was found to have positive impact on bone density, reducing the degenerative effects of osteoporosis.

See Metastatic Spine Tumors

Osteoporosis is a degenerative bone disease in which one's bone density is reduced over time. It is a silent disease, and most sufferers of osteoporosis do not know that the condition exists until they experience a spinal fracture or hip fracture. Postmenopausal women are at the highest risk for osteoporosis, but osteoporosis can affect anyone, especially individuals over the age of 40 and those who do not have enough calcium in their diets.

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Some physicians noted a minor risk of atrial fibrillation, a potentially dangerous cardiac rhythm disorder, when taking zoledronic acid intravenously. However, in the 3-year study, there was not a significant increase in mortality or morbidity. It is always a good idea to discuss any osteoporosis medication risks with your physician prior to treatment.

Source: Novartis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.

For further reading, see Vertebral Augmentation for Compression Fractures

Addtional Resources:

Novartis Reclast Website

ABC News: Experts Speak Out: Once-a-Year Injection for Osteoporosis

Associated Content: Once-a-Year Injection to Replace Traditional Osteoporosis Drugs

National Osteoporosis Foundation

FDA Bisphosphonate Safety Review