08/27/2009 - News

Denosumab Reduces Fracture Risk in Osteoporosis

By: June Chen, MD


Osteoporosis causes bones to become weak and brittle, increasing the risk that mild stresses like bending over or coughing can cause a fracture. Fractures from osteoporosis are about twice as common in women as they are in men. In the August 20, 2009 issue of New England Journal of Medicine, scientists report that treatment with denosumab reduces the risk of vertebral, nonvertebral, and hip fractures in women with osteoporosis.

Researchers for the FREEDOM trial enrolled 7,868 women between the ages of 60 and 90 years with osteoporosis and randomly assigned them to receive either 60 milligrams of denosumab or placebo by subcutaneous injection every 6 months for a period of 36 months. They found that, as compared with placebo, denosumab reduced the risk of new vertebral fracture on x-ray by 68%. Denosumab also reduced the risk of hip fracture in these women with osteoporosis by 40% and reduced the risk of nonvertebral fracture by 20%. Treatment with denosumab was not associated with an increased risk of cancer, infection, or cardiovascular disease.
This study suggests that denosumab is a safe and effective treatment for reducing the risk of fractures in women with osteoporosis. Further studies are needed to evaluate whether denosumab is effective for men with osteoporosis who are also at an increased risk of bone fractures.


NEJM. 2009;361:756-765.

Created on: 08/27/2009
Reviewed on: 08/27/2009

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