National Healthy Bones Week (Aug 19-25) will see the dairy industry promote dietary calcium to prevent osteoporosis, while the drug industry discontinues the treatments DIDRONEL and DIDROCAL (Disodium Etidronate) – presumably as a result of sales halving over the last four years with the success of newer agents.

Denosumab (a monoclonal antibody) is one which is now more accessible under the PBS for prevention of osteoporosis in women over 70, with the Bone Mineral Density T-score dropping to less than or equal to -2.5 in line with alendronate 70mg because the 6 monthly injections are similar in both effect and cost to the weekly oral bisphosphonate. It is also subsidised for all the post menopausal women who have had an osteoporotic fracture.

Even though 1 in 3 men over 60 years will also have an osteoporotic fracture, it is only indicated for men with osteopaenia who are receiving androgen deprivation therapy for non-metastatic prostate cancer.

Rash, dermatitis and eczema are common. Hypocalcaemia, pancreatitis, serious skin infections, and osteonecrosis of the jaw have been rarely reported.

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