It is a drug that appears to return the bone building process in the elderly to that of a young persons.
The drug, Forteo (teriparatide) was given to 145 elderly people who had bone fractures that were not healing. Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center found that 93 percent show significant healing with reduced pain after eight to 12 weeks.
"I've never seen a medication do this before," said professor J. Edward Puzas of the University of Rochester School Of Medicine to ABC News, who was involved in the clinical trial. "It is a way to turn back the clock for fracture healing."
The drug appears to jumpstart the bone healing process by boosting the number of bone stem cells involved in healing cutting the process in half. Forteo is injected once a day and has proven particularly effective in areas such as the pelvis and spine which cannot be easily immobilized, therefore are difficult to heal.
About 60,000 Americans experience a pelvic fracture each year. They typically take three or four months to heal and can bring on excruciating pain during that time. The drug appears to reduce that healing time to six to eight weeks.
Because of the early success, the National Institutes of Health is funding a clinical trial of men and post-menopausal women with pelvic fractures. Given the drug and a placebo, they will be followed for 16 weeks to measure the speed of healing and the amount of pain.
Forteo, made by Eli Lilly and Co. was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2002 as an osteoporosis treatment.
Approximately three-quarters of older women who have a pelvic fracture will die from related complications, says Dr. Susan Bukata, medical director at the university’s Center for Bone Health.
Pelvic fractures can result from osteoporosis, childhood injury during sports or from high energy forces such an automobile accident. #