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Thiazide: new hope for osteoporosis sufferers?


Evidence is building that diuretics containing thiazide slow the process ofosteoporosis (softening of bone) in elderly individuals and may reduce the incidence of bony fractures. A study of health records of 6,000 elderly Canadians in the province of Saskatchewan has led to the conclusion that the incidence of hip fracture among those taking thiazide forhypertension for six or more years was half that of nonusers, as well as among those taking the drug for periods of less than six years. No association between the use of other diuretics, or antihypertensive drugs, and reduction of hip fractures was demonstrated in the study.

How thiazide slows the process of osteoporosis is unknown, although Wayne Ray, an epidemiologist at Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., and the research team's leader, theorizes that the drug reduces calcium excretion in the urine. Plus, the resulting elevated blood calcium level may "inhibit release of [a] parathyroid hormone, an agent that triggers bone catabolism." Bone catabolism is a metabolic process that breaks down more complex substances into simpler ones. Others disagree with this theory, suggesting that the mechanism underlying thiazide's benefit in slowing osteoporosis is associated with increasing or preserving bone mass in the elderly. (Medical World News, May 22, 1989; 30:39.)
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Publication:Medical Update
Date:Jul 1, 1989
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