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It included 2,000 women, average age 71, with moderate bone loss. One in 4 had previously suffered a fracture. Every 18 months, the women received either an IV placebo or a Novartis IV drug known as Reclast in the United States and Aclasta elsewhere, the Associated Press reported.
Over six years, 122 women in the drug group and 190 of those on placebo suffered a fracture. Along with having a 37 percent overall lower fracture risk, the women in the drug group had a 50 percent lower risk of vertebral fracture, in which part of the spine collapses.
For every 15 women who received the drug treatment, one fracture was prevented, according to the study presented Monday at an American Society for Bone and Mineral Research meeting and published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
The findings suggest that bone drugs used to treat osteoporosis may also benefit those with moderate bone loss, "the group in whom 80 percent of fractures occur," said study leader Ian Reid, University of Auckland in New Zealand, the AP reported.
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