Each week we will aim to bring out a concise email that provides 4-5 key pieces of information addressing a specific issue in clinical therapeutics.
This week: Denosumab
Denosumab is a relatively new treatment for osteoporosis. This drug is a human monoclonal antibody that binds to a protein that regulates the function of osteoclasts, preventing bone loss associated with postmenopausal osteoporosis. This decreases bone resorption and increases bone mass and strength in cortical and trabecular bone.
- Unlike other treatments for osteoporosis, denosumab is not administered orally and does not need to be taken on a daily or weekly basis. The route of administration when treating osteoporosis is by subcutaneous injection, administered at a dose of 60 mg once every six months.
- The brand of denosumab marketed as Prolia is subsidised under the auspices of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme for the treatment of osteoporosis, whilst a high dose product (Xgeva 120 mg) is available for the management of bone metastases associated with advanced breast or prostate cancer.
- Adverse effects can include a low serum calcium concentration, rash, musculoskeletal pain and urinary retention.
- Special care is required for people who are to undergo some dental procedures, as there is a risk of a rare but serious complication called osteonecrosis of the jaw. For people requiring dental treatment, it is important to inform both doctor and dentist prior to treatment.
Please consider these issues when preparing or interpreting RMMR reports or education sessions. Contributions of content or suggested topics are welcome and should be sent directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.