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Definition

Paget's disease of the bone is a chronic bone disorder in which bones become enlarged and deformed. Paget's disease is also known as osteitis deformans. Paget's disease of bone becomes more common with age. It usually affects the skull, the spine and the bones in your arms, legs and pelvis.  Paget's Disease frequently begins in adults between the ages of 50 and 70. The disease may affect only one or two areas of your body, or may be widespread.

The condition occurs more often in Britain than anywhere else in the world and in the UK there are up to 1 million sufferers.

Causes

The cause of Paget's disease is not known. Various viruses have been suggested to be involved in this disease, but the relationship between viral infections and Paget's disease remains uncertain. Some scientists believe Paget's is related to a viral infection in your bone cells that may be present for many years before problems appear.

Symptoms

Enlarged bones can compress your spinal cord or the nerves exiting your brain and spinal cord. Paget's disease may damage the cartilage lining the joints near your affected bones.
Symptoms may include:

  • pain in the affected area
  • bone deformity in the affected area
  • susceptibility to fractures in the affected area
  • headache (if the affected area is the skull)
  • hearing loss (if the affected area is the skull)

Treatment

Paget's disease is often discovered accidentally when x-rays or laboratory tests are performed for other reasons. Otherwise, the diagnosis may be suspected on the basis of the symptoms and physical examination.

Sometimes, the drugs are used alternately when people do not respond to either taken alone. Physicians monitor whether or not a particular treatment is effective by measuring alkaline phosphatase levels. A doctor may use bone scans to see if more than one bone is involved. In this test, a radioactive material is injected into a vein to travel throughout the body.

Bisphosphonate medicines are a common treatment that can be used to slow the effects of the condition. They work by reducing the amount of new bone cells that are produced. This helps the bones to grow in the normal way.

Skelid (tiludronate disodium) -- Tablet; 400 mg (two 200 mg tablets) once daily for 3 months; may be taken any time of day, as long as there is a period of 2 hours before and after resuming food, beverages, and medications.

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