For Immediate Release
Contact: Tom Capezzuto
UMDNJ - Robert Wood Johnson Medical School
UMDNJ Researchers Are Testing Nitroglycerin Ointment To Prevent
Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women
Researchers at the University
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey (UMDNJ) are testing a nitroglycerin
ointment as an alternative to hormone replacement therapy to prevent
osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.
The three-year study,
which is being conducted at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood Johnson Medical
School in New Brunswick, is known as "Nitroglycerin as an Option:
Value in Early Bone Loss" (NOVEL). The only site for this trial
nationwide, the study is being funded by the National Institute
of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.
The treatment consists
of a daily application of nitroglycerin ointment to the most commonly
affected areas of the body--arms, legs and hips--of women between
the ages of 40 and 60.
Dr. Sunil J. Wimalawansa,
director of the Division of Endocrinology at the UMDNJ-Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School, is the principal investigator of the study.
"As postmenopausal women
grow older, osteoporosis is a common medical problem and is the
cause for broken hips in 95 percent of older women and men," Dr.
Wimalawansa said. "Previous studies have found that nitroglycerin
may keep the body from re-absorbing bone and thus slow the bone-thinning
Nitroglycerin, a drug
most often prescribed to treat angina, dilates blood vessels to
The NOVEL study will
test the effectiveness of nitroglycerin ointment taken with calcium
and vitamin D as compared to daily doses of calcium and vitamin
"This study is significant
because many women cannot tolerate or cannot afford costly hormone
replacement therapy or related medications, such as Fosamax and
Actonel," he said, "and
this treatment may provide new hope to many postmenopausal women
with little or no side effects." Furthermore, Dr. Wimalawansa noted,
the ointment costs only a fraction of all other FDA-approved therapies
Individuals who wish
to participate in the NOVEL study must be between the ages of 40
and 60, have gone through menopause and must not have high or low
blood pressure or significant heart disease. Those who qualify will
be given a routine physical, electrocardiogram, and a blood test.
Bone mineral density measurements will be done initially at six
months and then annually through the duration of the study, at no
cost. Participants will be given a $25 stipend for each visit.
The ointment, called
"Nitro-Bid," is manufactured by E. Fougera & Co., a division
of Altana Pharmaceuticals, of Melville, N.Y.
Women who are interested
in enrolling in the study may call the NOVEL Study Group at (732)
235-8938. They may also visit the group's web site at http://www2.umdnj.edu/novelweb/NOVEL
for more information.
The UMDNJ-Robert Wood
Johnson Medical School is one of three medical schools of the University
of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. UMDNJ comprises New Jersey's
only three medical schools, the state's only dental school, a nursing
school, a graduate school of biomedical
sciences, a school of health related professions and a school of
public health on campuses in Newark, Piscataway/New Brunswick, Camden,
Stratford and Scotch Plains. UMDNJ also operates University Hospital,
Newark, and University Behavioral HealthCare. It is affiliated with
more than 200 health care and educational institutions throughout