Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fosamax Halts Thinning Process in the Bones

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fosamax Halts Thinning Process in the Bones

Article excerpt

Dear Dr. Donohue: My doctor has prescribed Fosamax, which is a new medicine. It's for my bones. I'm 76. I would like to know the good and bad of it. I understand the side effects are pretty serious. I exercise and also take 1,500 milligrams of calcium daily. I have no pains, but I am told I am losing bone density. It's the Fosamax that concerns me.

Fosamax strengthens bones, which go through an interesting chemical odyssey.

Bone is a living, ever-rebuilding substance. It degrades through action of osteoclast cells. Other cells, the osteoblasts, keep up the rebuilding end. The continuous "remodeling" works fine in early life. But with age, bone density falters. Degradation has outstripped rebuilding. Osteoclasts have outworked osteoblasts. Trouble lies ahead. Fosamax stops the degradation cells, slowing down bone thinning and avoiding fractures that follow from that, especially for women, and specifically women at menopause. Your calcium supplementation helps bolster the benefits of Fosamax, giving your bones a timely boost. The possible side effects of Fosamax include abdominal pain, constipatio n, muscle cramps, headaches and taste disturbance. Much of that can, to be honest, be an acceptable price to pay for the drug's bone benefits. If you experience any side effects, you should report them to your doctor, however. One serious effect merits special notice: Fosamax used improperly can damage esophageal tissue. You should take Fosamax about 30 minutes before breakfast with six to eight ounces of water. You should not recline for 30 minutes after taking the medicine. By following those instructions, you can avoid the esophageal effect. All things considered, Fosamax is a worthy addition to the list of weapons to fight osteoporosis. For an in-depth discussion of osteoporosis, see my report on the subject. …

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