Osteoporosis: G.F.I. Wants Participants - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Osteoporosis: G.F.I. Wants Participants

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Jill Middleton

Twenty years ago, doctors didn't treat osteoporosis as aggressively as they do now. There's room for more bone building drugs on the market and better ones.

Covance G.F.I. wants you to help them test some of these new drugs. 

Popular belief used to be you got older, you got shorter, and there was really nothing you could do about it. Now we know better.

Osteoporosis is preventable. Not just because you want to stand up straighter, but to keep those bones from breaking, which spells the beginning of the end for many seniors.

For both quantity and quality of life, clinical trials lead to better treatments.  

56-year-old Karen Gatewood did so much joking around with the doctor directing the clinical trial she was in last month, that she now considers him a friend.

She really got to know the two ladies she bunked with at G.F.I. for 12 nights.

Gatewood says, "We were crying sympathy one minute, and we were laughing tears the next minutes. So, we just really had a good time."

The retired Bristol-Myers worker also found out she's in perfect health. Gatewood says she had tests done that she's never heard of before. From getting a blood test to a pap smear, study participants are often treated to hundreds of dollars worth of medical tests.

The trade-off is you have to be willing to give up your time.

Covance G.F.I. Medical Director, Dr. Randall Stoltz, says "You want a controlled environment, same meals, same activity level of everyone in the study. So, to get that done, you have to be in a controlled locked environment, so to speak."

This trial is for a new medication to prevent osteoporosis. A few decades ago, women simply took hormones to keep their bones strong after their bodies stopped making estrogen after menopause.

Dr. Stoltz says, "The problem is now we have the bad potential side effects, including strokes, heart attacks and the bad press that came out about hormones. So, women are scared of hormones. So, we're looking for new alternatives to treat osteoporosis."

Some of the current medications on the market have negative side effects like night sweats, irritation of the esophagus or destruction of the jawbone. So there is room for improvement.

Gatewood says, "I have a daughter that will someday be going through menopause, and anything could help her go through it. I know clinical research has to start somewhere."

The trial is open to healthy women between 40 and 68 years of age who have gone through natural or surgical menopause.

Participants in this study earn $2,800 upon completion. Participants are not allowed to leave, but you can have visitors for a few hours every night.

To see if you qualify, call G.F.I. before September 29th.

For information on this or other Covance G.F.I. research studies, call (812) 479-4434 or 1-800-552-4434.  

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