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SMC recommends Prolia

A new targeted treatment option is now available in Scotland to women at increased risk of postmenopausal osteoporotic fracture

The Scottish Medicines Consortium (SMC) has recommended Prolia (denosumab) for women with osteoporosis (bone mineral density T-score of < -2.5 and ≥ -4.0) for whom oral bisphosphonates are unsuitable due to contraindication, intolerance or inability to comply with the special administration instructions.

Administered every six months as a subcutaneous injection, denosumab significantly reduces the risk of fractures at the spine, hip and other key non-vertebral sites. It has been designed to mimic the natural processes that control the breakdown of bone and specifically targets the cells that actively break down bones (osteoclasts), resulting in greater bone density. Denosumab can be given at a hospital clinic or GP surgery.

According to Professor Stuart Ralston, Arthritis Research UK Professor of Rheumatology at the University of Edinburgh and clinical lead for the Osteoporosis Service in NHS Lothian, denosumab is a highly effective treatment, which will be particularly useful in patients who are having problems taking the standard treatment of a tablet given once a week.

"At the moment we are able to treat these patients, but it involves them coming up to hospital to give them a drug that is given by an infusion (or "drip"). Denosumab will provide us with an alterative option for these patients since it can be given easily by the patient's GP or practice nurse by a subcutaneous injection once every six months without the need for a hospital visit," Prof. Ralston said.

Dr Stephen Gallacher, consultant physician and endocrinologist, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, commented: "I am delighted that the discovery of a biochemical pathway that controls the way bones are built and broken down has meant we are able to tackle osteoporosis at the root cause of the disease. The recommendation by the SMC is promising news for the thousands of women currently suffering with the disease."  

Amgen and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), who are co-marketing denosumab, have welcomed the SMC recommendation.

13th December 2010

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