Fosamax, a drug widely used to prevent brittle bones in women, can help strengthen men's bones as well, researchers report in today's New England Journal of Medicine. Dr. Eric Orwoll of the Oregon Health Sciences University and his team found that men who took the drug, whose generic name is alendronate, instead of a placebo had significant increases in the density of their spine and hip bones.
About 2 million men suffer from osteoporosis in the United States, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. The benefits of alendronate are well documented in women, who typically develop osteoporosis after they have reached menopause. By age 65 women have lost about 20% of their bone density. The rate of bone loss is half as great among men.