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Letter to the editor

Editor, – Your recent comment on our product Fortéo (teriparatide) (Aust Prescr 2004;27:21-3) was an informative and well-rounded review, however, I would like to address a couple of points.

Your final paragraph states: 'Until more data are available teriparatide should only be prescribed for patients who have a high risk of fractures and cannot take other treatments for osteoporosis'.

In fact, the product information approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration for the use of teriparatide states:

Fortéo is indicated for the treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women and the treatment of primary osteoporosis in men when other agents are considered unsuitable and when there is a high risk of fractures.

While this may seem like a small change in wording, it is actually a significant consideration for those prescribing Fortéo.

A published paper helps to place the rat osteosarcoma issue in context. It concluded that: 'in adult humans it is unlikely that the risk of bone neoplasia would be increased by daily treatment with PTH (1-34) for a relatively small fraction of the normal life span'.1

Troels Wolthers
Medical Advisor Endocrine
Eli Lilly Australia
West Ryde, NSW

References

  1. Vahle JL, Sato M, Long GG, Young JK, Francis PC, Engelhardt JA, et al. Skeletal changes in rats given daily subcutaneous injections of recombinant human parathyroid hormone (1-34) for 2 years and relevance to human safety. Toxicol Pathol 2002;30:312-21.