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Following a positive breast cancer test and successful surgery to remove the tumor, many women are forced to take medications known as aromatase inhibitors that have been shown to deplete bone density as a side effect. However, new research shows that common drugs used to treat osteoporosis may be an effective way to address the problem.
A team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh reported in the journal Cancer that breast cancer patients on aromatase inhibitors are able to improve their bone density by taking zoledronic acid. This drug limits the risk of fractures caused by low bone density without causing harmful interactions with breast cancer medications.
"This study shows that bone loss from aromatase inhibitors can be prevented long-term with a safe and effective drug that prevents osteoporosis," said Dr. Adam Brufsky, who led the investigation.
He added that because zoledronic acid is already approved by the FDA for treating low bone density, it may be easier for doctors to begin treating breast cancer patients at risk for weakened bones with the drug. This could help millions of women reduce their chances of experiencing a fracture.
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