Osteoporosis, also known as brittle bone disease, is not just a problem for women. Men can also develop thin, brittle bones that not only break, but can cause disability and disfigurement. There are effective medications that can help strengthen bones, but like most drugs, they have drawbacks.
"There are patients and subjects that are intolerant to them. They cause severe G.I. distress, and for those patients, it would be a great advantage to have additional choices," says Dr. Richard Bockman of the Hospital for Special Surgery.
That's where the good news comes in about an investigative drug called Zometa, under the generic Zoledronic acid. It's an intravenous infusion that works similarly to the oral Osteoporosis drugs, and it only has to be given once a year.
"We're able to cause the changes in bone that we believe are important for making bone stronger and preventing its loss and making it resistant for future fracture," says Bockman.
Zometa has already been FDA approved for the treatment of bone cancer. It doesn't actually kill the cancer, but it helps ease the intense pain that comes when cancer spreads into bones. However, that approval means that doctors can theoretically administer Zometa for Osteoporosis in what's called off-label prescriptions for patients who need treatment but who can't take the other available medications. So, if you have Osteoporosis and have not been able to take other medications for that, you might ask your doctor about Zometa.