What can multiple myeloma patients do for bone-building therapies? Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi from the Mayo Clinic discusses bone-strengthening drugs and some physical activities to help with bone care.
So if a patient cannot take bisphosphates doesn’t explain the reason why, are there other bone-building therapies that are recommended to protect them?
Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi:
Sure, so I would say that while we talk about these drugs like bisphosphonates, RANK ligand inhibitors, there are some other drugs that can be used to strengthen the bones, because you can imagine these molesting agents are used in a lot of different cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, etcetera. So this family of drugs can be used, there are some that are used less frequently, but can be used instead of bisphosphonates and denosumab (Prolia), but I would bring the patients back to even more basic stuff, calcium, vitamin D, exercise, bone-strengthening exercise. These are the first steps.
Then come the other bone-modifying drugs, so even if a patient has been told that they cannot get any of those drugs because of the side effects, they could certainly say calcium, vitamin D after discussing with their doctors, and they can regularly do some bone-strengthening building exercises sometimes it’s as simple as swimming, as simple as spinning, but those are like on the stationary bike, but those are extremely important activities to help build bone mass.
All right, thank you. Have you ever had a patient that has reached complete response that you said, Well, maybe you don’t need to continue on bisphosphonates, that ever an option for patients to not continue after a certain period of time?
Dr. Sikander Ailawadhi:
Again, excellent question. And, in fact, historically, all the bisphosphonate-related clinical trials had up to a two-year follow-up, so a lot of times we used to say, “Well, at two years we need to stop them because there’s no safety data beyond that.” But more recently, there are studies that have shown that even every three months of bisphosphonates is as good as every month. So if somebody has active bone-affecting myeloma, then their treatment can be given every month or every three months.
But if a person has gone into remission, and remember, the myeloma was the exciting event that was causing the bone loss, if there is no disease, if there are no active ones and the person is in good health, they are active…no bone-related issues. You’ve done imaging. Everything is good. I think it certainly it can be done that bisphosphonate can be stopped. And, of course, this needs to be actively discussed with the patient, frankly, other than having the side effect concern, if I can have a patient not coming for the treatment and they can spend that much extra time with their family doing what they want to…I think that’s a win-win.