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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Study suggests early treatment of osteoporosis bone problems

Lindsey Tanner Associated Press

CHICAGO – A study suggests some women might benefit from taking bone-boosting drugs earlier than many doctors recommend, because they can break bones well before they develop full-fledged osteoporosis.

The study involved 149,524 white postmenopausal women, age 65 on average, who had bone density scans. Of the 2,259 who broke bones during the following year, 82 percent had initial bone-density scores indicating thinning bones but not osteoporosis.

Only 18 percent of women with fractures had scores at or above the threshold many doctors use to define osteoporosis and to prescribe drugs.

The study was led by Dr. Ethel Siris at Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center and included researchers from Merck & Co., which makes the osteoporosis drug Fosamax and funded the study. A Merck doctor participated in a committee that oversaw the study design and analysis, Siris said.

Experts not involved in the study said the data appear sound.

The researchers suggested doctors consider lowering the threshold for prescribing osteoporosis drugs, especially for women who have certain risk factors that increase their chances of breaking a bone.

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