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New Hope for Women Living with Osteoporosis

LONDON, 22nd November 2004 – Today sees the launch of a new type of treatment for osteoporosis, Protelos (strontium ranelate). Developed by Servier Laboratories, Protelos is the first and only medicine available which combines the process of building new bone and at the same time slowing down the rate of bone loss.

‘To date we have had treatments that can reduce the rate of bone loss and last year a new injection was launched which promoted bone growth, but we have never had a medicine that combines the two processes’ said Professor Tim Spector, a consultant rheumatologist from St Thomas’ Hospital, London and one of the trialists who tested out the new drug with his patients during the late stages of its development. ‘With some other treatments, the patients need to remain upright for half an hour after they have taken their medicine but Protelos is straightforward to take and patients will be able to take it last thing at night and go to bed straight afterwards. It’s a very useful addition to existing treatments to enable us to provide the best possible choice for our patients’ he continued.

Osteoporosis occurs when bone ages and becomes worn. The body breaks down more old bone than it manages to replace with new bone which means that gradually bone loss occurs and bones become thin and fragile. Osteoporosis is considered by many to be an inevitable ‘sign of old age’ and often goes undetected until a broken bone is suffered. At least one in three adult women and one in twelve adult men over the age of fifty will suffer a broken bone, particularly in the spine, hip or wrist. Up to half of all patients who suffer a broken hip lose the ability to live independently and up to one fifth may die during the following year as a result of their injury.

Studies have shown that Protelos reduces the risk of spinal fracture by half after one year and by 41% after three years as well as reducing the risk of hip fracture by more than a third over three years. It is the only treatment for osteoporosis which has been studied extensively in an elderly population of over 80. In this age group, Protelos reduced the risk of fractures in the spine by a third and other, non spinal fractures by 31% compared to placebo.

To coincide with the launch of Protelos, celebrity personal trainer, Matt Roberts has developed a programme of simple bone building exercises. Emphasising the importance of taking care of our bones he said, ‘Weight bearing exercise has been shown to have a positive impact on stimulating bone strength. It is important for all of us to look after our bones to make sure we keep them strong for later life. It makes no difference how old you are, exercising to increase bone strength can be done whether you’re sixteen or sixty.’

Speaking at the launch, Jackie Parrington, Membership & Stakeholder Services Manager National Osteoporosis Society (NOS) said, ‘The NOS welcomes the launch of Protelos as it extends the number of treatment options open to both doctors and patients alike. Broken bones associated with osteoporosis are often overlooked as part of getting old and I hope today’s launch raises awareness of the severity of the condition and alerts us all to taking greater care of our bones.’

Protelos is a once daily treatment and is a tasteless powder provided in sachets (2g) which need to be mixed in a glass of water prior to drinking. It is recommended that Protelos be taken at bed time at least two hours after eating.

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Notes to Editors

•To date, Protelos has only been studied for use in postmenopausal women
•Women can obtain a copy of the Matt Roberts Bone Building Exercise Programme by sending a self addressed envelope to: Athena Medical PR Ltd, FREEPOST LON19547, London, W4 5FZ.

For further information, please contact:

Laura Anderson
Athena Medical PR
Tel: 020 8956 2861
Mob: 07974 233960
E-mail: laura@athenamedicalpr.com