Bisphosphonates May Improve Survival in Duchenne MD

With steroids, result in better survival than steroids alone for Duchenne muscular dystrophy

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 19 (HealthDay News) -- When combined with steroid treatment, bisphosphonate use may improve survival rates in patients with Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD), according to research published online Jan. 17 in Pediatrics.

Kevin E. Gordon, M.D., of Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada, and colleagues analyzed data on 44 boys with DMD who received steroid therapy for at least one year to study the association of bisphosphonate therapy on survival in this patient population.

The researchers note that 16 (36 percent) of the patients started bisphosphonate therapy between 1997 and 2007 at a median age of 12.5 years. By 2009, 13 (30 percent) of the patients had died at a median 16 years of age. Based on survival curves, the researchers identified an association between bisphosphonate use and a significant improvement in survival rate. They also found a possible therapy-duration effect for bisphosphonate use.

"The treatment of patients with DMD with steroids and bisphosphonates seems to be associated with significantly improved survival compared with treatment with steroids alone," the authors write.

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