Drug companies have been understating the risks and overstating the benefits of prescribing bone-strengthening drugs for women who do not yet have osteoporosis.
Drug makers have argued that similar treatments should be used for both osteoporosis and pre-osteoporosis (osteopenia). However, drugs such as raloxifene, alendronate and risedronate provide almost no benefit for women with pre-osteoporosis.
Four drug company studies that examined the effects of osteoporosis drugs on women with osteopenia exaggerated the benefits and downplayed the potentially harmful side effects; for example, studies on raloxifene made no mention of the increased risk for blood clots.
* Washington Post January 18, 2008