Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Osteoporosis drug Fosamax linked to heart problem

30.04.2008
Finding from Group Health and University of Washington study

Women who have used Fosamax are nearly twice as likely to develop the most common kind of chronically irregular heartbeat (atrial fibrillation) than are those who have never used it, according to research from Group Health and the University of Washington published in the April 28 Archives of Internal Medicine.

Merck markets Fosamax, the most widely used drug treatment for the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, explained study leader Susan Heckbert, MD, PhD, MPH, a professor of epidemiology and scientific investigator in the Cardiovascular Health Research Unit at the University of Washington. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the first generic versions (called alendronate) in February.

“We studied more than 700 female Group Health patients whose atrial fibrillation was first detected during a three-year period,” said Dr. Heckbert. She and her colleagues compared those women to over 900 randomly selected female Group Health members matched on age and high blood pressure to serve as controls.

“Having ever used alendronate was associated with an 86 percent higher risk of newly detected atrial fibrillation compared with never having used the drug,” said Dr. Heckbert, who is also an affiliate investigator at the Group Health Center for Health Studies.

Osteoporosis mostly affects older women and can set the stage for fractures that can impair the quality of their lives, said Dr. Heckbert. “Careful judgment is required to weigh the risks and benefits of any medication for any individual patient,” she added. “For most women at high risk of fracture, alendronate’s benefit of reducing fractures will outweigh the risk of atrial fibrillation.”

However, said Dr. Heckbert, “women who are at high risk of fractures but also have risk factors for atrial fibrillation—such as heart failure, diabetes, or coronary disease—might want to discuss alternatives to alendronate with their health care providers.” Other medications that can lower the risk of fractures include estrogen, she said. But the Women’s Health Initiative, on which she has also served as an investigator, showed other heart risks from hormone therapy combining estrogen with progesterone.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute funds Dr. Heckbert’s Atrial Fibrillation Study, which collects data on all Group Health patients as they are first diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. The study aims to find new factors that raise the risk of developing this quivering of the heart’s upper chambers (atria).

About one in 100 people—and nearly nine in 100 people over age 80—have atrial fibrillation, said Dr. Heckbert. In many cases, atrial fibrillation has no symptoms, and it isn’t necessarily life threatening. But it can cause palpitations, fainting, fatigue, or congestive heart failure.

Atrial fibrillation can also make blood pool—and sometimes clot—in the atria, said Dr. Heckbert. When parts of clots break off and leave the atria, they can lead to embolic strokes, as happens in over 70,000 Americans a year. That’s why atrial fibrillation is often treated with the anticoagulant warfarin. Other results from her study have suggested that maintaining a healthy body weight may help protect people from atrial fibrillation.

“This study will help medical teams better inform their patients about the risks associated with Fosamax, helping us make the best treatment decisions for managing osteoporosis,” commented Christine Himes Fordyce, MD, a Group Health family practitioner. “Now with this increased understanding of potential irregular heartbeats, both physicians and their patients should be alert to any problems, report them immediately, and treat them appropriately.”

Rebecca Hughes | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ghc.org

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Researchers identify cause of hereditary skeletal muscle disorder
22.02.2017 | Klinikum der Universität München

nachricht Second cause of hidden hearing loss identified
20.02.2017 | Michigan Medicine - University of Michigan

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Microhotplates for a smart gas sensor

22.02.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Scientists unlock ability to generate new sensory hair cells

22.02.2017 | Life Sciences

Prediction: More gas-giants will be found orbiting Sun-like stars

22.02.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>