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SCIENCE FILE / An exploration of issues and trends
affecting science, medicine and the environment | Science
in Brief

Drug Curbs Painful Effects in Bone Cancer Patients

February 22, 1996|From Times staff and wire reports

UCLA and Los Angeles Veterans Administration researchers have shown that a commonly used medicine can significantly reduce the destruction of bone and relieve pain in patients with multiple myeloma. Painful bone loss is a complication in about 80% of the people with this form of cancer, which kills about 10,000 Americans annually.

A team headed by Dr. James R. Berenson randomly assigned 392 patients to get either Aredia, known generically as pamidronate, or dummy shots. The researchers reported in the Feb. 22 New England Journal of Medicine that 24% of the Aredia patients suffered fractures, spinal compression or other bone problems, compared to 41% in the comparison group.

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