A 10-year study at a Mumbai hospital has found the effectiveness of osteoporosis pill in treating patients suffering from persistent hip pain or avascular necrosis of the hip; thus, mitigating the need for hip surgery.
In patients with avascular necrosis, blood supply to the top portion of the thigh bone (femur) is cut off and this causes a slow death of the bone, leading to severe pain and inability to move the hip.
This condition is often treated with hip replacement surgery that may cost between INR 1.5 and 3.0 lakh. Every year, more than one lakh Indians aged between 20 and 50 years of age develop this condition due to trauma, alcoholism or a genetic disorder.
Doctors at the P. D. Hinduja Hospital in Mahim, Mumbai tried treating patients with avascular necrosis using the drug biphosphonate commonly used for osteoporosis. 10 years and 400 patients later, they found that this treatment is effective and patients can make do without the surgery.
The author of this study published in the Journal of Arthroplasty, Dr Sanjay Agarwala said:
“Over the years, 400 patients have been treated with drugs for this painful and disabling disorder. The treatment is not only effective, but also economical as the patient can manage the pain by spending around Rs 150 per month, as against spending on an expensive surgery.”
None of the patients who received the drug suffered any significant side effects although some of them felt slight dizziness and a general muscular pain. The researchers also found that the earlier this treatment with biphosphonate was started, the better were the results obtained.