Posts Tagged ‘Bisphosphonate’
Recently a patient asked me to review all osteoporosis medications for her to consider and choose from. We had already optimized her Calcium intake, 25-hydroxy Vitamin D level, Protein intake, Multiple Vitamins & Minerals, and Exercise program. These had all helped substantially, but not enough for her peace of mind. She feels that she needs osteoporosis medication too. Here they are:
Denosumab (Prolia) mimics the natural process that keeps OsteoClasts (the cells that gobble up bone) under control before menopause. OsteoCytes release Osteoprotegrin (OPG) when Estrogen (or Testosterone) is on board. OPG controls the formation and activation of OsteoClasts by blocking RANK-Ligand, which is necessary for OsteoClast formation and activation. This decreases fracture risk.
Prolia mimics OPG and blocks RANK-Ligand, thus blocking bone resorption by preventing OsteoClasts. It is a RANK-Ligand Antibody. It is like birth control for OsteoClasts. Prolia is given as a shot under the skin twice a year. Prolia is very effective at first, but begins to fade by 6 months. Without another injection , Prolia has totally lost effectiveness by 12 months after the last shot.
The biggest problem with oral Bisphosphonates is GI upset, especially Gastro-Esophogeal Reflux Disease (GERD). Another problem is that you must take them on an empty stomach – then eat nothing for 30 to 60 minutes. Atelvia attempts to evade those issues with enteric coating. Atelvia is Risedronate (Actonel) which does not disolve until in the small intestines. It can be taken with food. This is definitely more convenient.
Published studies show Atelvia to be as effective in decreasing fracture rates as daily Actonel (the orginal dosing of Risedronate). That is good.
The enteric coating should make GERD much less common than with regular Actonel. Surprisingly, there are no published studies to back up that obvious supposition. Nor are there any studies about other GI problems common with regular bisphosphonates. Fortunately, we do have some samples for patients to try in order to determine if they have any GI problems with Atelvia, before getting a paid-for prescription.
Atelvia is still new enough on the market that we have no long term experience. It may acquire the niche market for an oral Bisphosphonate without GERD.
Having an additional osteoporosis medication option is good.
Jay Ginther, MD
An Acute Phase Reaction can occur the first time a person is exposed to a new class of medication. With each subsequent dose, half as many people have the reaction. The symptoms are like mild flu for 3 to 5 days. The treatment is lots of fluids, and Tylenol (Acetaminophen) if needed.
Persons who have never taken any bisphosphonate before, can experience an acute phase reaction the first time they take Reclast (Zolendronate in osteoporosis dose). This happens in about one-third of persons who have not taken Fosamax (Alendronate), Boniva (Ibandronate), Actonel (Risedronate), or Atelvia (enteric coated Risedronate) before their first dose of Reclast. This happens in about one-sixth of persons after their second dose. Third dose is down to one-twelfth.
Acute phase reaction is a significant nuisance. However, a Fracture is a significant problem. Reclast will reduce Fracture Risk by more than half compared to no osteoporosis medication at all. See the visuals for fracture risk in women and men without osteoporosis medication. Remember to check for good enough kidney funtion (GFR at least 45) before each dose.
It’s all about avoiding Fractures.
Jay Ginther, MD