Half of women over 55 don't discuss osteoporosis with their doctors

A recent survey of 376 women age 55 and over found fewer than half of them discuss osteoporosis prevention therapies with their healthcare providers, yet this bone crippling disease is one of the major reasons women eventually lose their independence and enter nursing homes.

"Exercise and leading a healthy lifestyle are important in helping bones stay strong, but it may not be enough for many post-menopausal women," said Marie Foegh, MD, DSc, Vice President of Medical Affairs at Berlex. "This often disabling disease, which can lead to fatal consequences, is also largely preventable. We urge women to identify their own risk and talk with their providers about the right osteoporosis prevention plan for them."

Menostar(R) (estradiol transdermal system) 14 micrograms/day, the most recently FDA approved osteoporosis prevention therapy, is now available in U.S. pharmacies, its marketer, Berlex, announced today. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Menostar in June 2004. The very small, once-weekly patch delivers a micro-dose of transdermal estradiol-only 14 micrograms per day-for post-menopausal osteoporosis prevention in women at significant risk of osteoporosis. Non-estrogen therapy should be carefully considered. The dose of plant-derived estrogen in this dime-sized patch is so low that Menostar can be used in women with or without a uterus, and does not require a daily or monthly concomitant progestin. It is recommended that women who have a uterus and are treated with Menostar receive a progestin for 14 days every six to 12 months. A woman without a uterus does not need a progestin.

"The new patch is an advancement in osteoporosis prevention, which works to bring estradiol levels up just slightly -- to a level still within the physiological range expected among postmenopausal women -- yet is still effective in preventing bone loss," said Dr. Foegh.

While all women's estrogen levels decline after menopause, a woman whose estrogen decreases to trace or undetectable levels is at higher risk for osteoporosis and debilitating fractures -- up to eight times higher risk compared to other post-menopausal women. The recent survey also found that about 40 percent are unaware that post-menopausal women with trace or undetectable levels of estrogen face this osteoporosis additional risk.

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