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Susan Greenspan

University of Pittsburgh Beginning Osteoporosis Study

PITTSBURGH, May 30, 2000 — Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh division of endocrinology and metabolism are participating in a multi-center study of two drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.

The study is funded by a $760,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health.

"Osteoporosis can be a life-threatening disease. Through this study we hope to determine the most effective treatment in preventing bone loss and restoring bone mass using a combination of two different drugs," said Susan Greenspan, M.D., professor of medicine at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, director of the Osteoporosis Prevention and Treatment Center and principal investigator in the study at the University of Pittsburgh.

Researchers are testing the effectiveness and safety of alendronate (Fosamax® ), already approved by the FDA for the treatment of osteoporosis, in combination with parathyroid hormone (PTH), which is an investigational drug not yet approved by the FDA.

"Alendronate has been proven to prevent bone loss and rebuild thinning bone mass by about two to six percent," Dr. Greenspan said. "With the addition of PTH given in combination with alendronate, there is a potential to increase bone mass by up to 30 percent. These drugs, used together, may be the future of osteoporosis treatment."

The two-year study will enroll 240 women at four sites nationwide, with about 70 to 90 women enrolled at UPMC. Participants in the study will be randomized into one of four groups with each group receiving a different combination of alendronate and PTH. All study participants will receive calcium and Vitamin D.

Osteoporosis is a disease in which bones become thinner, more porous and are more likely to break. In the United States, 10 million people already have the disease and 18 million more have low bone mass, placing them at risk for developing osteoporosis. One out of two women and one out of eight men over age 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in their lifetime.

For more information on the study please call 412-692-2220.

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