According to a study conducted by the New England Journal of Medicine, seniors with osteoporosis who may have suffered a hip fracture are less likely to experience another hip fracture if administered zoledronic acid. Zoledronic acid is a once a year drug marketed under the brand name “Reclast”. This study involved 2,100 senior participants; the findings were that the seniors who were given Reclast had a 35 percent lower risk of subsequent fractures than did the patients who received a placebo. Even better, the risk of death was reduced by 28 percent in the Reclast group as compared to the placebo group.
According to Ethel Siris, MD and professor of Clinical Medicine at Columbia University Medical Center, osteoporosis is quite often under diagnosed and under-treated. Studies have found that almost 25 percent of seniors over 50 years old with osteoporosis die within a year of suffering a hip fracture. Many of the seniors who survive the hip fracture will need walking assistance and about a third of the seniors need long-term nursing care and assistance with ADL’s (activities of daily living).
According to Dr. Siris, this study underscores the importance of more aggressive evaluation and management of patients with osteoporosis and hip fractures. The recurrent fracture trial is the first study to show that after a hip fracture, osteoporosis treatments can have a very positive impact on lives of seniors and lessening the need for extensive home care and assistance with ADL’s. Today, millions of people, especially seniors are treated with the Reclast drug which can potentially save them from the life threatening consequences of osteoporosis.
The studies are very convincing in that the patients who received Reclast died 9.6 percent of the time following a hip fracture compared to 13.3 percent of the people who were treated with a placebo.