Harvard Health Letter

Bisphosphonates may help men with osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is often thought of as a woman's health problem, but in many older men, the bone-thinning disease poses a significant fracture risk. In a study published in the Nov. 1, 2012, New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that bisphosphonates, the commonly used bone-strengthening drugs, may provide the same level of benefit for men as they do for women—who are the primary consumers of bisphosphonates. Researchers studied the drug zoledronic acid (Reclast) and found that it significantly reduced fractures of the spine in men with osteoporosis. An estimated 25 percent of adult men will suffer an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetimes. The fracture risk for adult women is about 50 percent.

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