Intermittent Use of Thyroid Hormone May Prevent Bone Loss in Endometriosis
Nov. 16, 1999 (New York) -- Daily treatment with human parathyroid hormone
(PTH) may help prevent bone loss due to hormone deficiencies in women with
endometriosis, Boston researchers have found. The study involved young women
with endometriosis who had reduced estrogen levels because of drugs they were
taking for the disease.
The study results also indicate that PTH treatment also may help prevent
osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, according to researchers from
Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston.
"We had plenty of rationale for believing that parathyroid hormone can
have beneficial effects on the spine. The new finding, and the important
finding, is that it also protects against bone loss at the hip and total body
bone," researcher Joel S. Finkelstein, MD, tells WebMD. The study was
published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Although PTH is usually thought to cause bone loss, the researchers found
that administering the hormone on an intermittent basis appears to have the
opposite effect: preventing bone loss throughout the body. Finkelstein says the
results of the yearlong study, in which some of the women received daily
injections of PTH in addition to the gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)
prescribed for endometriosis, weren?t a total surprise -- but were more
positive than expected.
The study?s results may herald good news for women with endometriosis, a
condition in which uterine tissue grows abnormally outside the uterus. Because
some drugs prescribed for endometriosis slow the body?s production of estrogen
-- with potentially detrimental effects on bone density -- women undergoing
such treatment have a higher risk of developing osteoporosis.
Finkelstein says the results are consistent with what his group hoped to
find. His group has plans for several new studies, including one that will
follow the women from the current study to look at long-term effects on bone
density after PTH treatment is stopped. A second study by the National
Institutes of Health, now under way, is examining the three-year effects of PTH
on bone density in women entering natural menopause.