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After 10 years of clinical trials, researchers have determined that the bisphosphonate Fosamax enables postmenopausal women to maintain or increase bone density with no poor effects. Even after use of the drug was stopped, some women continued to show improvement in bone density. Because osteoporosis is a chronic condition requiring long-term treatment, results of a 10-year study are very important, according to the study's director, Henry G. Bone, MD, of the St. John Hospital and Medical Center in Detroit, Mich.
Other experts, however, cautioned that more research is needed to determine how long patients need to take Fosamax and when they should begin taking the drug. They also noted that the study's measure of success was bone density rather than risk of bone fracture. While Fosamax is the most commonly used drug for osteoporosis, more research is needed on dosing and scheduling.