FDA panel sees risk in long-used osteoporosis drug

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A panel of federal health experts says a long-established bone strengthening drug should no longer be used by women because there is little evidence it works and it may actually increase the risk of cancer.

The Food and Drug Administration panel voted 12-9 that the risks of the inhalable osteoporosis drug outweigh its benefits for postmenopausal women with brittle bones.

The drug, known chemically as calcitonin salmon, has been prescribed for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women since the 1980s. Currently the drug is sold in nasal spray form by Novartis and Upsher-Smith.

But the health authorities around the world have been reviewing the drug's safety after two recent studies showed a slightly higher rate of cancer among patients taking calcitonin pills.
 

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