• BREAKING NEWS ABC shows live and on-demand -- Download the WATCH ABC app!

New bone treatment shows promise

May 13, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
Treatment for osteoporosis has come a long way in the past ten years. There are numerous bone building drugs to choose from and numerous ways to take them. So how does a patient decide? One local woman found success with a fairly new treatment she hopes will get her back on the dance floor.She may not be "Dancing with the Stars," but 84-year-old Erna Craig used to Rumba five days a week.

But 10 years ago, any dance move became dangerous for Erna because of her weakening bones. She suffered multiple fractures a year. She even lost five inches.

She changed her diet, took calcium, vitamin D and tried every medication her doctor suggested including Fosamax, one of a handful of frontline oral medications for rebuilding bone.

"My bone density test was still not very good," said Craig.

But registered nurse Miriam Shannon who treats osteoporosis patients says you don't just pop a pill. If you're taking an oral bisphonate drug. You have to follow specific guidelines. Like take the pill first thing in the morning on an empty stomach.

"They can't eat before and after. They have to sit up right in order to take it," said Shannon.

Despite all of Erna's efforts, the fractures just kept on coming. So last May, she tried a once a year 15-minute intravenous treatment called Reclast. Now she's in for her second treatment.

"This year I have not had a single fracture," said Craig.

Some patients on Reclast may suffer side effects.

"Flu like symptoms for some patients, fever headache and achiness," said Shannon.

There's also the potential for jaw bone pain, but Erna didn't experience any side effects at all. Before you start any osteoporosis treatment, it's important that you talk to your doctor but all the options.

A new bone scan reveals Erna's hip and spine are getting stronger. She feels so good, she's thinking about getting back on the dance floor.

"I''d be glad if I could go a couple of times a week. I'd love to go back again," said Craig.

Report Typo |  Send Tip |  Get Alerts | Most Popular
Follow @abc7 on Twitter  |  Become a fan on Facebook


Load Comments