IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis

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MAY 13, 2002

Lisboa Congress Center, Portugal

Parathyroid hormone shows especially promising activity in male patients

Parathyroid hormone, previously shown to be effective in the treatment of female osteoporosis, has now shown promising results in the treatment of male osteoporosis. Parathyroid hormone (PTH) analogues represent one of the newer treatment options under study for the treatment of osteoporosis in men. Promising clinical results obtained to date with teriparatide (rhPTH[1-34]), an investigational PTH analogue in late-stage clinical testing, are raising the hopes of osteoporosis patients and the doctors who treat them.

Parathyroid hormone is a naturally occurring anabolic protein involved in the regulation of bone metabolism. PTH and its analogues exert their biological actions through binding and activation of a common G-protein-coupled cell surface receptor. A number of studies have demonstrated the efficacy of PTH analogues in replacing bone lost to osteoporosis, apparently due to their ability to slow the rate of apoptosis (programmed cell death) of bone-building osteoblasts. They are considered especially promising in the treatment of patients who have already lost significant amounts of bone and have suffered a fracture, or in those at high risk of experiencing a fracture.

In a multi-national double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical study reported by lead investigator Dr. Eric Orwoll, Oregon Health and Science University, Portland, USA, teriparatide was used to treat 437 men with abnormally low bone density (spine or hip BMD was greater than 2 SD below the mean for young adult males) for a mean of 11 months. Subjects self-injected teriparatide (20 or 40 mcg) or placebo once daily. All subjects also received supplemental calcium (1000 mg) and vitamin D (400-1200 IU). Vertebral BMD (vBMD) increased by 5.9% and 9.0%, respectively, among men treated with low- and high-dose teriparatide, although analysis of baseline values showed that the differences in vBMD increase were actually attributable to differing baseline values, rather than to a dose-response effect.

Furthermore, vBMD response to PTH was not affected by age, history of previous fracture, free testosterone levels, estradiol levels, smoking or alcohol intake. Cigarette smokers had lower baseline BMD values but obtained a similar response to the treatment. "Parathyroid hormone appears to be broadly effective in men with osteoporosis, just as it does in women," said Orwoll.

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is a worldwide organization dedicated to the fight against osteoporosis around the world. It brings together scientists, physicians, patient societies and corporate partners. Working hand in hand with its 139 member societies in 71 countries and other healthcare-related organizations around the world, IOF encourages awareness and prevention, early detection and improved treatment of osteoporosis.

The IOF World Congress on Osteoporosis is being held May 10-14, 2002 in Lisbon, Portugal. Some 5,000 participants are expected for the congress, expected to be the largest gathering ever of osteoporosis specialists from around the world. Abstracts from the congress are published in a supplementary volume of the journal Osteoporosis International. For more information visit the congress website:

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