April 7 (UPI) -- A new clinical trial has shown the short- and long-term safety of the drug denosumab to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Denosumab is a monoclonal antibody that had been approved for use to treat bone loss in multiple myeloma.
The drug decreases the formation of osteoclast, which are multinucleated monocyte-macrophage derivatives that degrade bone and absorb bone tissue in the growth and healing process.
Researchers found that during the three-year clinical trial of denosumab given to postmenopausal women age 60 to 90 years old, the drug significantly reduced new vertebral fractures by 68 percent, hip fractures by 40 percent and nonvertebral fractures by 20 percent. The drug was given subcutaneously every six months in 60 mg doses.
Denosumab was also found to increase bone mineral density and reduce bone turnover markers compared to placebo in posmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
Researchers also found that women who began taking denosumab for three years after three years of taking a placebo had no increase in adverse side effects compared with women initially treated with denosumab.
"All of this is consistent with an excellent safety and tolerability profile for denosumab treatment for osteoporosis," Dr. Nelson Watts, said in a press release.
The study was published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.