May 25, 2006

Osteoporosis drug may also normalize heart rate

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Treatment with raloxifene
appears to reduce heart rate variability in elderly women with
osteoporosis, Turkish researchers report in the American
Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology.

There is some evidence that raloxifene, sold under the
trade name Evista, may have a protective effect on women with
cardiovascular disease or who have a high risk of developing
cardiovascular disease, but the effects are still unclear, Dr.
Mert Gol and colleagues at Dokuz Eylul University Hospital,
Izmir, note.

The researchers therefore studied 43 postmenopausal women
with osteoporosis. The women were randomly assigned to
raloxifene at 60 mg daily or another drug that prevents or
slows down osteoporosis -- alendronate (trade name Fosamax) at
10 mg daily.

At as early as three months, the researchers found that
raloxifene decreased hyperactivity in the sympathetic nervous
system, which is associated with cardiovascular disease, and
this persisted until the end of treatment at six months.

Also, measurement of the average intervals between
heartbeats, a sensitive indication of parasympathetic nervous
system activity, tended to increase in the raloxifene group,
with suggests reduced sympathetic activity.

Because activation of the sympathetic nervous system is
associated with cardiovascular disease, the team concludes that
raloxifene treatment may have a positive effect on
cardiovascular health in these women."

The investigators note that a trial to evaluate these
effects is currently underway.

SOURCE: American Journal Obstetrics Gynecology, May 2006.