Osteoporosis meds may cut breast cancer risk: Study
New York: Women who took a commonly used class of osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates had significantly fewer invasive breast cancers than women not using the bone-strengthening pills, according to a new analysis of data from the Women`s Health Initiative (WHI).
The analysis from a segment of the more than 150,000 generally healthy post-menopausal women in the WHI study found that those taking Merck & Co`s Fosamax, or other bisphosphonates, had 32 percent fewer cases of invasive breast cancer than women who did not use the osteoporosis medicines, researchers found.
Fosamax is now available in generic form as alendronate. Other commonly used medicines from the class include Roche`s Boniva and Actonel, which is sold by Procter & Gamble Co."The idea that bisphosphonates could reduce breast cancer incidence is very exciting because there are about 30 million prescriptions for these agents written annually in the United States targeting bone health, and more could easily be used to counteract both osteoporosis and breast cancer," Dr. Rowan Chlebowski, the study`s lead investigator and chief oncologist from the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute, said in a statement.It was the landmark WHI research program that in 2002 found a link between long-term use of hormone replacement therapy by post-menopausal women and increased risk of breast cancer and heart attacks -- findings that have been used as the basis for thousands of lawsuits against the makers of those drugs.
First Published: Friday, December 11, 2009, 00:00
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