Fosamax Prevention


FDA Approves New Indication For Merck's Fosamax  WASHINGTON, DC, Jun 23, 2000(Reuters) -

The US Food and Drug Administration said on Monday that it has approved Merck and Co.'s drug alendronate sodium (Fosamax) for treating steroid-induced osteoporosis.
Fosamax is already sold in the United States for the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and for treating Paget's disease. A Merck spokeswoman said that the new indication makes Fosamax the only drug approved for treating bone loss in women and men who take steroids for months at a time to fight diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and chronic bowel disease.

About 1.5 million people take steroids for more than 6 months to treat chronic conditions, thereby exposing themselves to potentially serious bone loss. According to Merck, patients undergoing steroid therapy can lose between 5% and 15% of their bone mass during the first year of therapy, and up to half of them can suffer an osteoporosis-related fracture.

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