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New osteoporosis drug Evenity approved

The U.S. Food and Drug administration this past spring approved a drug called Evenity (romosozumab-aqqg) to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk of broken bones. These patients are women who have a history of osteoporotic fractures or multiple risk factors for fractures, as well as those who have failed in treatment with other osteoporosis drugs or are unable to take those drugs.

WHAT WE KNOW

Evenity, developed by Amgen, is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the effects of a protein called scleronin. Scleronin stops bone production and causes bone to break down. Evenity works by increasing bone formation. This makes it different from commonly used osteoporosis drugs called bisphosphonates (such as alendronate, aka Fosamax), which block the osteoclasts that break down bone tissue but don’t cause new bone to form.

WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW

One dose of Evenity consists of two injections, one immediately following the other, given once a month by a health care professional. The bone-forming effect of Evenity decreases after 12 doses, so the treatment is stopped at the end of a year. To maintain the gains in bone density from Evenity, patients will be prescribed another osteoporosis medicine that redrduces bone breakdown.

Evenity comes with a “black box” warning stating that it may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death. Patients who have had a heart attack or stroke in the previous year should not use Evenity; Amgen says the warning does not concern people who have not had something like that in the past year.

NOTE: Amgen is a corporate partner of American Bone Health and provides unrestricted financial support for American Bone Health’s educational programming. Amgen has no input on the content of American Bone Health’s programs and resources. 

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