Save Our Bones Bulletin: Flu Season Scare Tactics, Study Urges Wider Prescription Of Reclast, Follow-Up Phone Calls Increase Osteoporosis Drug Adherence

This month’s Bulletin begins with a familiar warning from the Center for Disease Control (CDC), as it once again attempts to scare everyone about the severity of this coming flu season, hoping to convince as many as possible to get the flu shot.

Next, we’ll look at some tactics from Big Pharma intended to increase drug sales (and corresponding corporate profits.)

First up is a study that advocates for prescribing bisphosphonates to even more women by lowering the threshold at which doctors prescribe. We’ll look at how this argument is justified (by them) and why most women who fracture bones actually have a moderate amount of bone loss.

Finally, we’ll look at a study that proposes making follow-up calls to patients who were prescribed oral osteoporosis drugs to ensure that they continue to take them. Unfortunately, what they fail to remind their patients is that taking bisphosphonates could lead to an atypical fracture, osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), and many other undesirable side-effects.

CDC Releases Predictions For 2018-2019 Flu Season

Flu season is here, and the Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released its yearly report on last year’s influenza statistics with predictions for this year.

According to its report, more than 700,000 people were hospitalized with the flu last season, and 180 children died.

Relevant Excerpt:

“The U.S. faced the most severe seasonal flu outbreak across all age groups since at least 2003 last season, according to CDC data. It led to 900,000 confirmed hospitalizations. So many people caught the flu that some hospitals and pharmacies across the U.S. ran out of antiviral drugs, Alabama declared a state of emergency and a school district in Arkansas closed all 10 of its schools.

Each year, vaccines are produced in accordance with the CDC’s predictions for the types of viruses most likely to circulate during flu season. Those predictions can be wrong, of course, but even when they are right vaccines can be mismatched to circulating viruses. Last winter, the U.S. vaccine was only 25 percent effective against the unexpected emergence of the H3N2 strain, or 36 percent effective overall, according to the CDC.

About 40 percent of U.S. residents received a seasonal flu vaccination last year. About 80 percent of the children killed hadn’t received a shot. Vaccines significantly reduce a person’s chances of catching the flu and spreading it to the most vulnerable people around them, such as the elderly. Even if someone does catch the flu after getting the vaccine, symptoms are likely to be less severe.1

The Save Institute recommends against getting a flu shot. The flu shot wreaks havoc in your immune system by directly introducing a virus into the bloodstream.

Additionally, the efficacy rates of the flu vaccine are low, since in most cases it doesn’t protect against the strains in circulation.

Synopsis

The CDC is urging people to get the flu vaccine after record-setting rates of hospitalization last year, but the Save Institute recommends boosting your immune system instead.

New Study Pushes Osteoporosis Drugs On Women With Osteopenia

A new study has found that older women with osteopenia are less likely to break a bone if they take the intravenously-administered bisphosphonate Reclast or Aclasta (zoledronate).2

The 6-year double-blind study measured the effects of IV administered zoledronate (a bisphosphonate sold under the name Reclast) on 2000 women aged 65 or older with a bone mineral density T-score of -1 to -2.5, the zone designated as osteopenia.3

The label osteopenia describes an increased risk of osteoporosis, which is an increased risk of fracture, making osteopenia a risk of a risk. The authors argue that women with this much lower chance of a fracture should still be prescribed bisphosphonates.

Relevant Excerpt:

Broken bones are a scourge of aging… But who should use drugs called bisphosphonates is debatable. They’re recommended for people with severely brittle bones, called osteoporosis, but their value is less clear for millions of others with moderate bone loss.

Yet “that’s the group in whom 80 percent of fractures occur,” and the new results suggest they also may benefit from treatment, said Dr. Ian Reid of the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

After six years, 122 women in the drug group had broken a bone versus 190 of those on placebo — a 37 percent lowered risk. The drug also cut in half the risk of a vertebral fracture, when bone compression causes part of the spine to collapse.

For every 15 women like this treated for six years, one fracture was prevented — a ratio that some experts said makes treatment worth considering.

Two rare problems are tied to bisphosphonates — deterioration of the jawbone and unusual leg fractures. No cases of either occurred, but the study wasn’t big enough to rule out this risk.2

This excerpt contains a curious detail: that 80% of fractures occur in women who have osteopenia. The percentage of women with osteopenia who experience a fracture is lower than the percentage of women with osteoporosis who experience a fracture, but because far more women are within the T-score range of osteopenia than osteoporosis, even the smaller percentage of fractures within the osteopenia group amounts to 82% of all fractures.4

The fact that so many women break bones after only a moderate amount of bone loss shows that bone mineral density is not a good way to measure bone health or strength- a long-held position of the Save Institute.

Dr. Ian Reid, the author of this study, is also the co-author of a review article about osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), one of the most horrific side-effects of bisphosphonate use. Incredibly, the authors recommend that patients who suffered through the facial disfigurement caused by ONJ should resume taking bisphosphonates after their lesions have healed.5

There are safer and more effective ways of increasing bone density and reducing your fracture risk, even if you’ve already taken osteoporosis drugs and suffered from their dangerous side effects. Savers use weight-bearing exercise and a pH-balanced diet to build strong bones while improving their overall health.

Synopsis

A new study recommends the intravenous drug zoledronate, marketed as Reclast and Aclasta, for women with T-scores in the osteopenia range because its results show the drug can reduce their fracture risk. The Save Institute maintains that there are safer and more effective ways to reduce fracture risk- without drugs.

Big Pharma Finds Phone Calls Effective For Osteoporosis Drug Adherence

A study published in The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits found that telephone follow-ups increase drug adherence for oral osteoporosis treatments.

There were 164 patients divided into an intervention group who received phone calls every two months from medical secretaries reminding them to stick to their prescription, and a control group who did not receive phone calls. The intervention group was more likely to keep taking their drugs.

Relevant Excerpt:

”The main objectives of the phone calls were to motivate patients to maintain good adherence to the treatment, to detect any difficulties in compliance with the prescription using non-incriminating questions, and to recall the importance of continuing the treatment as prescribed, rather than just assessing adherence alone. The telephone interview was short (less than 10 minutes). If poor adherence was detected, the secretary encouraged the patient to consult her primary care physician.

Our study argues in favor of the usefulness of regular telephone interviews to improve therapeutic adherence to oral treatments of osteoporosis, in particular in post menopausal women with a history of fracture and initially receiving care in a dedicated healthcare setting. The potential limitations of our study include it being monocentric, with a relative small sample size, including few details concerning the characteristics of the patients, recruitment from on-site, and difficulty in obtaining an objective assessment of adherence.6

This is another ploy by Big Pharma to keep people on osteoporosis drugs. If you have decided to stop taking an osteoporosis drug and to instead make changes to your diet and lifestyle with the purpose of increasing your bone density and decreasing your fracture risk, then you’ve broken free from the grips of the Medical Establishment.

Synopsis

A study found that follow-up telephone calls increased drug adherence for taking osteoporosis medications.

Stay The Course And Build Your Bones

It shouldn’t surprise anyone that Big Pharma is always expanding its tactics for selling bisphosphonates and other osteoporosis drugs. After all, the Medical Establishment invented osteoporosis as it is currently defined so that Big Pharma could sell the drugs they’ve developed.

Don’t fall prey to these corporate predators! Keep asking questions, staying informed, and making healthy holistic choices that improve the strength and resilience of your bones.

References

1 Blake Dodge. “Return of U.S. Flu Season Brings Worries About a Virulent Replay” Bloomberg Quint. Sep 27 2018. Web. https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/return-of-u-s-flu-season-brings-worries-about-a-virulent-replay#gs.p6fII10

2 Marilynn Marchione. “Study suggests more older women may benefit from bone drugs.” AP.
October 1, 2018. Web. https://apnews.com/114706ca97a04b08afc0848eea90e6f5

3 Ian R. Reid, M.D, et al. “Fracture Prevention with Zoledronate in Older Women with Osteopenia.” New England Journal of Medicine. October 1, 2018. Web. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1808082

4 Siris ES. “Bone mineral density thresholds for pharmacological intervention to prevent fractures.” Arch Intern Med. 2004 May 24;164(10):1108-12. Web. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15159268?dopt=Abstract

5 Aliya A. Khan, Archie Morrison, David L. Kendler, Rene Rizzoli, David A. Hanley, Dieter Felsenberg, Laurie K. McCauley, Felice O’Ryan, Ian R. Reid, et al. Case-Based Review of “Osteonecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) and Application of the International Recommendations for Management From the International Task Force on ONJ.” Journal of Clinical Densitometry: Assessment & Management of Musculoskeletal Health, vol. 20, no. 1, 8–24, 2017. Web. http://www.esceo.org/sites/esceo/files/publications/Khan-JCD-2017.pdf

6 Vincent Ducoulombier, MD. “Contribution of Phone Follow-up to Improved Adherence to Oral Osteoporosis Treatment” The American Journal of Pharmacy Benefits. July 30, 2015. Web. https://www.ajpb.com/journals/ajpb/2015/AJPB_MayJune2015/Contribution-of-Phone-Follow-up-to-Improved-Adherence-to-Oral-Osteoporosis-Treatment

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26 comments. Leave Yours Now →
  1. Al November 7, 2018, 8:41 pm

    I’m a 71 year old male with ideopathic osteoporosis (no known cause) and have been following your diet and exercise advice for the past 4 years. My bone density fell slightly during this time.
    I started taking Prolia 2 years ago but want to stop. However my doctor says that my osteoclast activity will rebound to make up the time and my bone density will fall drastically.
    How can I avoid this?

  2. Cheryl Peters November 7, 2018, 8:49 am

    I really wanted to share this with everyone but there was nothing really about the flew shot other than you say no and the cdc says yes. I wanted the facts on what it does to you and how the cdc lies to scare you.

  3. Anita Gard November 6, 2018, 12:11 pm

    Thank you Vivian! I wholeheartedly believe in and endorse your approach. You are fighting an uphill battle with the medical establishment and especially big pharma. And to think now they even want to make follow up phone calls to make sure you follow their dubious advice. Just makes me angry! GRRRRRRR!!!
    Keep up the good work!

  4. KIM HARRISON November 6, 2018, 12:08 pm

    I had a RECLAST infusion 5 years ago and it has ruined my life due to extreme debilitating bone pain which is the number one side affect. People need to be aware of the side effects. I was put on narcotics, became dependant, then went thru rehab to get off them and am now on suboxone the rest of my life because of this bone pain. BE AWARE!!!! Be careful.

    • Judi M November 6, 2018, 1:52 pm

      Kim……Thank you for sharing your experience.
      I am sorry that this happened to you !
      Your message is very helpful to me and I am sure,
      to many readers as well.

  5. vee over November 6, 2018, 11:20 am

    The more I read re. osteopenia & osteoporosis, the more apprehensive I am to take any drugs. I may have osteoporosis have not had a bone scan recently. Do have spinal stenosis & degenerative discs.
    I am very disappointed with most doctors and their lack of communication with the patient that is why I turn to “Dr. Internet” (my phrase) to obtain the information doctors do not care to give a patient. They seem to hurry us thru the appointment. I, therefore, will go on with my life staying active and hopefully healthy. I do have a fear of falling–goodbye 4 inch heels & other high fashion footwear !

  6. Marty November 6, 2018, 8:04 am

    You accuse the CDC of using scare tactics to encourage protection against influenza. Then you use unintelligent scare tactics to discourage people from, not only protecting themselves and their families against a dangerous, sometimes fatal disease, but also helping influenza from becoming pandemic. The very scary part is that uneducated people will listen to you.
    Yes, the flu shot is not 100% effective. This is well known. Yes, it is less effective some years than others. This is well known. Yes, the virus can mutate after this year’s vaccine is formulated, and that can make the vaccine less effective. This is also well known. Still the benefits, especially to the elderly, are not overstated. And the global benefits also are not overstated. Please educate yourself about the possibility of an influenza pandemic. Take the time to read about the flu of 1918. Getting the flu shot decreases the chance of this happening again. Do you even understand what a pandemic is? In the influenza pandemic of 1918, three to five out of every hundred people died; can you do the math? One out of every 25 people across the globe died of this flu. This does not take into account the ones who were ill but recovered, or the ones who survived but never fully recovered. Yes, it can happen again. And, if fear mongers like you continue to discourage getting the flu vaccine, a very dangerous pandemic is much more likely. Please educate yourself and stop harming people with inaccurate and dangerous statements. These are things that seriously damage your reputation and your credibility when you do have valuable things to say.

    The following sentence is a quote from the Smithsonian: Severe influenza epidemics tend to occur every few decades. Experts believe that the next one is a question not of “if” but “when.”

    • Anita November 6, 2018, 9:36 am

      I agree with Marty..I am sorry to see that you are still damaging your reputation by discouraging people from getting a flu shot. I applaud your dietary and exercise suggestions, but frankly, you are not a physician and are unqualified to give this type of advice. You really need to rethink this position on flu shots as you are losing subscribers because of it. It is much more dangerous to the health of our bones to get a bout of the flu, (MASSIVE inflammatory reaction) than a dead viral vaccine. If you want to gamble with your own health, fine, but what about a child with an immune disease that will DIE when exposed to you because you were too selfish to be immunized?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:35 am

      Hi Marty,

      It’s important to remember that even in the rare case that the flu vaccine (or any vaccine) is effective, it’s still ultimately your immune system that fends off the illness. The shot is an artificial immune “boost,” but we recommend building your immune system naturally against the flu. The effects are similar.

      And it certainly does no harm to give information. 🙂 At the Save Institute, our goal is to arm Savers with the information they need to make an informed decision.

      • Zdenka November 8, 2018, 4:02 am

        I feel really sorry for people, who still live in illusion that flu vaccine can help them against the flu , or against cervic cancer.
        I feel, that Dr. Vivian does not need to have worry, that some people unsuscribe. Those, who are able to read between lines, and have open eyes ,will stay to suport her, because she is really very brave woman.
        And those, who rely on Big Pharma, and on research that is payed by pharmaceutical to receive supportive answer, can find side effect much later, even they will never know, that its caused by chemicals from flu vaccine. The people, who are revolutionary have always tought time, however, at the end, the true will show up. So, thank you Dr. Vivian for your persistence, and perseverance. You are doing wonderfull job from crystalline love to the humanity.

  7. Elizabeth Di Blasio November 6, 2018, 7:39 am

    I was a healthy woman throughout my life… my nutrition has always been excellent. My Italian mother was an excellent nutritionist… I never smoked. I do not touch alcohol… Needless to say, I continued throughout my life , to cook my own preparation… Fresh produce always. Vacationed in the beautiful Laurentian mountains during the summer months… And then during the month of March 3 weeks to Miami Beach- the beautiful sunshine state.
    Does all of the above sound too much?
    Well, I have reached the ripe- old-age- of 85 … Now enters Big Pharma…

    My personal physician recommended me to have a bone densitometry, and so the results were that certain parts of my skeleton such as my vertebrae had thinned, my vertebrae 4 and 5 5 Wel, she then recommended me to see a rheumatologist. This was October 2014 Just as soon as I took Fosamax I began to have an increase in my platelet count…and my red blood cells, and my potassium level is high..
    She then took me off Fosamax and put me on Prolia…. well I have now been diagnosed with Essential Thrombocytosis… too many platelets a disease of the bone marrow. I stopped taking Prolia after 2 injections… alas the damage was done… no cure…. and presently comes the icing on the cake… my new hematologist wishes to put me on another molotov cocktail but, I staunchly refused. The name of this poison is called Hydroxyurea. Shameful! I refused it.
    I had a test done called JAK 2V617 F mutation Results of this test established that my disease was an acquired somatic mutation present 50% of patients with essential thrombocytosis.
    It establishes without a doubt that the 2 molotov cocktails destroyed my beautiful life. I say to you all- be wary when a doctor prescribes any kind of medication…
    I have lost my faith in doctors. Big Pharma today is really wreaking havoc on the population.
    I presently take a daily aspirin 60mg to help thin my blood… I will also sue both doctors and pharmaceutical co. Merck
    Do not put your full trust in doctors… research before taking any kind of medication. Remain skeptical. I was doing super well before I visited the rheumatologist.

    Thank you for reading my story, and good luck to all.
    With best wishes,

    Elizabeth

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:37 am

      Elizabeth, thank you for sharing part of your health journey and personal story, and my heart goes out to you. You’re doing the right thing by sharing this with as many people as possible, and I wish you success and health moving forward.

    • Helen Schulman November 6, 2018, 8:00 am

      Thanks for your valuable information. 2 years ago I was diagnosed with osteoporosis for the 1st time and my arthritis doctor prescribed Prolia, a biophosphenate, which I was injected with twice. Suddenly, for unexplained reasons I developed a femur fracture which turned into bone necrosis, which collapsed and led to emergency hip replacement surgery. I’ve never been the same since then, and I’m reporting this to you because it may warn others off biophosphenates. Wish I read your reporting on biophosphenates before I got into this mess.

      • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:37 am

        Thank you, too, Helen, for sharing your experience. Again, my heart goes out to you – but I commend you for taking a different road and finding a better way.

  8. christine November 6, 2018, 7:02 am

    Dear vivienne Osteoporosis drugs(biophosphates) are regularly prescribed in UK for patients with breast cancer that has spread to bones. In this case, does it work?

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:40 am

      Hi Christine,

      Under no circumstances are osteoporosis drugs a healthful treatment for low bone density; there is no exceptional health situation (including cancer) where they “work” to improve bone health.

  9. Gerri November 6, 2018, 6:00 am

    Well Vivian, it has been 12 years since I have had a bisphosphonate or a nexium. Because of you with Save our Bones and Sherry with Great taste no pain I live a healthfilled life. I am 83 and tap, clog, play tennis, do yoga and Pilates and no meds at all. Thank you for all you do. I believe you played a big part in my feel great life. Needless to say I don’t get scammed by getting scanned.

    • Zdenka November 8, 2018, 4:08 am

      Wonderful job , Gerri, and again, thank you to Dr. Vivian for her private research.
      Yes, your recomendation as to “ tap, clog, play tennis, do yoga and Pilates “ is a way to go. Vithout regular physical activity nothing will help.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:19 am

      Thank you for that inspiring comment, Gerri, and I love this: “I don’t get scammed by getting scanned.” Well said!

  10. Naomi Fenton November 6, 2018, 5:43 am

    I’m on HRT oestrogel gel and the male hormone testosterone fir my osteoporosis
    It has helped
    I am 62 years old
    Anyone else on HRt for osteoporosis
    It’s a lifetime medication I’ve been told
    I was on alendronic acid when osteoporosis was first diagnosed but I need teeth implants. The surgeon said I must come off it as I could get osteocronosis of the jaw
    So I came off it
    Then my mum was watching loose women where the Vice President of the osteoporosis society and he said all women should be on hrt fir their bones
    He’s a gynaecologist so I went to see him and that’s what happened

  11. Denise November 6, 2018, 5:34 am

    I am encouraging people to look at their blood calcium levels in their blood tests. High blood calcium levels over 9 can be indicative of the parathyroid not working properly. Meaning small benign growths on the 4 glands that take calcium from the bones and the side effect is osteoporosis. This is what is happening in my case & trying to get referred to an endocrinologist. I run twice a week & weights 3 x per week. Fighting with doctors for your own health is important & I’m still working on referrals.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:49 am

      Denise and Grace, thank you for being open about your experiences and letting the community know what you went through.

      You’re right that the parathyroid plays a significant role in bone health, and osteoporosis can result from hyperparathyroidism. Here is a link where you can read more about the parathyroid, and the drug, Forteo, that artificially mimics it:

      https://saveourbones.com/what-is-the-forteo-teriparatide-injection/

    • Grace November 6, 2018, 6:57 am

      I was prescribed Fosmax in 2007 after my bone density showed osteopenia.
      I stopped in 2011 since I never liked being on this drug -too many side effects.However my dr convinced me to try Fosmax again in in 2015 with the attitude “good will outweigh the risk” .Well after multiple kidney stones & all the scans associated with this I decided to stop.
      However I noticed balance problem,poor sleeping,falling with wrist sprains & fractured my humerus,hair loss,weight & memory loss.Well I’ve always maintained a healthy lifestyle & decided to stop the Fosmax especially since I had been on it for a total of 7 years.
      After developing chest pain when I was walking (after no previous problems),a visit to ER revealed that my cardiac bloodwork was normal except my Calicum was elevated.More testing revealed I had hyperparathyroidism!Did the Fosmax cause these glands to upset the normal balance of calcium release to my body & my kidney functioning???
      It was a 2 year wait before I had 2 of the parathyroid glands removed & 45 min after surgery I was told my PT level dropped to normal levels.Well I felt like someone turned on my light bulb & I regained my normal weight.
      Unfortunately I’m now faced with osteoporosis,but I really don’t want to go back on medication & now feel like “the risks outweigh the benefits!”
      I’ve been practicing yoga for 3 years & remain active.I think I will stay with Vit D ,make some dietary changes & start weight lifting exercises.
      I appreciate any suggestions.
      I would urge anyone on Any of the osteoponic drugs to have your parathyroid function checked,especially since I have a friend who has now been diagnosed with hyperparathyroidism & was still on Fosmax .She now has developed a spinal compression fracture.

  12. Frances M Janniro November 6, 2018, 4:27 am

    My 86 year old mother and I have the same dexa scores (I am 65, but went through surgical menopause at age 42). After a bad fall she entered the University of Maryland bone and spine rehab center. The doctor agreed to let her continue to take her TrueOsteo as it was less harsh on her stomach and keeps her blood calcium in the normal range, something that rock calcium couldn’t do. The doctors are really interested and I hope to get more information to them. Everyday, I try to share this site and an alternative to big pharma.

    • Vivian Goldschmidt, MA November 6, 2018, 9:20 am

      Thank you for being unafraid to share the information about calcium, Frances, and I am so glad your mother is doing well.

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