Posted on 25 March 2022
First new osteoporosis treatment in a decade
Thousands of patients are set to benefit from a new osteoporosis treatment recently approved by UK medicines regulator NICE. Called romosozumab, the new osteoporosis treatment will now be available for up to 20,000 women after menopause, according to new guidelines.
Bisphosphonates and alendronic acid have been the go-to drugs for treating osteoporosis, but they aren’t always effective and can come with some side effects. Osteoporosis is an emerging crisis for healthcare systems, which is why scientists continue to search for new treatments for the condition.
Romosozumab is a new treatment that’s highly effective at reducing fractures in post-menopausal women. The drug is administered as an injection once a month and accompanied by calcium and Vitamin D supplements.
In clinical trials, patients who took romosozumab before alendronic acid had a 50% lower relative risk of vertebral fractures (fractures in the bones of the spine), compared to those who were treated with alendronic acid alone. The risk of non-vertebral fractures was 19% lower in those treated with romosozumab, scientists found.
“Romosozumab is the only drug available that can help to form bone as well as increase existing bone strength,” said Helen Knight, acting director for medicines evaluation at NICE. “It is the first new treatment for osteoporosis for several years and I’m delighted we have been able to recommend this drug as an option for people with severe osteoporosis.”
The addition of romosozumab to prescribing guidelines came after 100 medical experts and charities, including the Royal Osteoporosis Society, wrote to NICE to question why the regulator hadn’t approved the drug.
The U-turn has been welcomed by professionals and patients who welcome the addition of this vital lifeline. In the UK, romosozumab is known by the brand name Evenity. The drug is already approved for use in the USA and in some parts of Europe.