St. Joseph Hospital’s Osteoporosis Research Group is beginning a study of an experimental nasal spray’s effectiveness in the treatment of the physical and emotional effects of osteoporosis.
Funded by Rohrer Pharmaceuticals, along with a grant from the St. Joseph Healthcare Foundation, research will focus on the drug calcitonin, which has been used for several years as a treatment for osteoporosis, according to Dr. Clifford Rosen, chief of medicine and leader of the research group.
Osteoporosis is a bone disorder characterized by a loss of bone density, accompanied by increasing porosity and brittleness of bones. It most often affects women who have passed menopause.
As part of the project, the research group is seeking 40 women over the age of 65 to participate in the 18-month study. The women must have osteoporosis and have suffered new spine fractures. The participants can come from northeastern Maine, but must be able to travel once a month to Bangor to receive medication.
The research will include a study of the lifestyles of the women involved in the project. There will be no cost to the participants.
The project, which has received the approval of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, will examine whether the use of the nasal spray is as effective as the use of injections of the drug for reducing pain and increasing bone strength, said Rosen.
Research data will be correlated with information being gathered in a current study on the psychological effects of osteoporosis being conducted with the University of Maine, said the physician.
Rosen said that those women taking part in the research will benefit from the drug, and will have the option of continuing long-term treatment, if it is in their best interests.
For more information about the research project, prospective participants may call Sally Fischel, research assistant, at 941-1737.