An FDA-Approved Treatment for Osteoporosis that Actually Makes Bones Worse!

November 29, 2011
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Your BonesFDA’s prescription for bone health and osteoporosis has been shown to make bones far more fragile in the long term, and may even cause jaw death and esophageal cancer.

Bisphosphonate drugs are used for treatment of osteoporosis, a disease in which the bones become extremely porous, are subject to fracture, and heal slowly, occurring especially in post-menopausal women. The drugs, which are sold under the brand names Actonel, Atelvia, Boniva, and Reclast, have supposedly been shown to reduce the risk of breaking a hip by 40 to 50 percent and fracturing a vertebra by between 40 and 70 percent.

However, this FDA-approved therapy has become even more controversial now that it has been linked to atypical bone fractures after long-term use. The drugs have also been linked to deterioration of jawbone, jaw death, and potential esophageal cancer. An FDA advisory committee now wants the FDA to limit how long a patient may be on bisphosphonate therapy, but committee members cannot agree on an appropriate time limit.

As osteoporosis expert Lara Pizzorno explains, bisphosphonate drugs help prevent fractures in the short-term by suppressing osteoclasts, the cells that remove injured and damaged bone. In doing so, there is no space to replace the damaged bone with healthy bone tissue. Eventually unhealthy bone accumulates and becomes extremely fragile.

Bones continue to remodel throughout one’s life, so any therapy prescribed to maintain bone or prevent excessive bone loss must be good for lifetime use. Any treatment that cannot be used in the long term is a waste of time, money, and in the case of bisphosphonate therapy, dangerous as well. As Pizzorno told ANH-USA recently, “The only place bisphosphonates might be useful is in the very short term for cancer patients, and even then the risks may outweigh the benefits.”

In her excellent book Your Bones: How You Can Prevent Osteoporosis & Have Strong Bones for Life—Naturally (co-authored with our friend Jonathan V. Wright, MD), Pizzorno discusses natural integrative approaches to preventing osteoporosis and maintaining healthy bones that can be used over a lifetime. She examines the science behind proper nutrition, including vitamins and minerals (such as calcium, vitamins D, K, and B, particularly folate), exercise, and eating particular foods.

25 Responses to “An FDA-Approved Treatment for Osteoporosis that Actually Makes Bones Worse!”

  1. Hi, Neat post. There is a problem along with your web site in internet explorer, may test this… IE nonetheless is the market chief and a big portion of folks will pass over your fantastic writing due to this problem.

       0 likes

  2. kevin says:

    KIlers, the fda is trying to kill us all at our expense.

       1 likes

  3. Nancy says:

    I’ve been on this planet 70 years, and aside from occassionally seeing a dentist, for the last 38 years I’ve avoided doctors and anything else connected with the medical establishment. Early on I did a lot of general market research interviewing in people’s homes and often interviewed older people as part of my quota assignment. The interviews weren’t of a medical nature yet I learned a lot about the agonies of becoming dependent on doctors and their scribbling of prescriptions, useless surgeries, device implants that went haywire, and hospital infections (sometimes fatal as in the loss of a spouse). I am grateful to those elderly who shared their experiences with me — and caused me to go in search of alternatives to dracula-in-the-white-coat.

    And yeah, I take a lot of supplements.

       1 likes

  4. Thank you for posting about this topic. Patients still don’t know enough about it. In my opinion, estradiol (estrogen) is the first-line treatment for osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. I never prescribe bisphosphonates and always take new patients off of them. Of course, nutrition, exercise, Vitamin D, Vitamin K, and many other factors contribute to bone health.

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  5. I was put on Fasamax and after 2 years I got worse then put on Boniva. It hurt my bones and made me feel like the flu. Also lots of acid reflux. My body felt like it was full of acid. I was just diagnosed with celiac disease and was born with it. So that was the cause of my osteo. These meds make you worse and they think they can cure it but holding on to dead bone is down right stupid. The body gets rid of dead cells for a reason. Even my dr had no clue as to how these worked. They listen to the drug dealers that come to his office and sell him the latest stuff. I have been in the office when they show. They even give them specials and gifts. He is actually encouraged to use these drugs on his patients. Sad that the drug companies are more interested in making money then curing anyone of anything. I work in health care and it has be come a racket for money for so many.

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  6. Lou says:

    “I just wish the Department of Justice would investigate who at the FDA is getting PAID”

    LOL!

    Who pray tell is going to investigate “Justice”?

    Folks we are dealing with an nest of ubber corrupt and worse criminals. Jon Corzine, ex Goldman Sacks head, ex US Senator, ex Governor of NJ; about as connected as a conman can be, was just allowed to steal 1.2 billion bucks from the customers of his firm. We have the wire transfers documenting the wiring out of the money. “Justice” looks for a supplement to trash.

    Please stop waiting for the FDA, HHS, NIH, CDC, “Justice” et al to act ethically. It Ain’t gonna happen! This despite 99% of these agencies made up of honest, competent, ethical souls. A former DOJ employee who quit after being ordered to lie has written a book delineating the political corruption at “Justice”.

    IMO if you want your health you are going to have to FIGHT these “agencies” who are supposed to be fighting FOR you but who are actually fighting to eliminate you. It is a cold hard world out there but trying to live in a myth where government protects you will only get you to your grave sooner.

    OTOH it is nice to know who your friends and ENEMIES are.

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  7. Donna says:

    I took Fosamax for 5 years. I absolutely hated taking it because I burped and belched for half an hour afterward and felt horribly bloated all day. As soon as 5 years came I quit. My doctor agreed it was not necessary to take it any longer. That was 8 years ago. Did it help me? I doubt it. I walk 3 miles a day, and if anything helps me it would be the walking. I would NEVER take this again.

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    • Lou says:

      “I walk 3 miles a day, and if anything helps me it would be the walking. I would NEVER take this again”

      Yep weight bearing exercise is PROVEN to be the single best thing you can do for your bones (and LOTS else).

      WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE is the BEST WAY to AVOID or TREAT OSTEOPOROSIS

      “This indicates that women who participate in impact sports such as volleyball and basketball had higher Bone Mass Densities and bone formation values than female swimmers.” Journal of Applied Physiology

      “Weight-bearing aerobic activities involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight. Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing and gardening. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss. They can also provide cardiovascular benefits, which boost heart and circulatory system health.” Mayo Clinic, Exercising with osteoporosis

      “Weight-bearing exercise led to significant increases above baseline in bone mineral content which were maintained with continued training in older, postmenopausal women. With reduced weight-bearing exercise, bone mass reverted to baseline levels.” Weight-bearing exercise training and lumbar bone mineral content in postmenopausal women

      “According to numerous studies and aging manuals, strength training, is an activity known to increase bone mass and thus decrease the possibility of osteoporosis.” Bone density sharply enhanced by weight training, even in the elderly

      “My sister uses your weight vest & has gone from Osteopenia to healthy bones!” Allison, Fredericksburg, TX

      “In fact as important as hormonal and dietary factors are, they are not the most critical factors for maintaining healthy bones; exercise is the most critical. One hour of moderate exercise three times a week has been shown to prevent bone loss and increase bone mass in postmenopausal women. Immobility doubles the rate of calcium excretion resulting in negative calcium balance. The best thing people can do to strengthen their bones is to get physical activity.” Murray & Pizzorno

      “Weight bearing exercises is as close as one can get when one is searching for a magic bullet in the prevention of osteoporosis. The positive effect of exercise on bone density is greatest in adults who have been sedimentary and just started exercising. Studies have shown that even elderly adults over age 80 who have done active exercise and weight bearing programs can significantly increase their bone density over a shot period of time. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, running, jogging, dancing, are especially important. While swimming is a great exercise for cardiovascular diseases, it is not as good for bone health when compared to walking and jogging.” Doctor Michael Lam MD

      The best way to avoid or treat osteoporosis is weight bearing exercise (See Weight Bearing Exercise Protocol). Stressing your bones will make the bone stronger. If you are right handed your right arm and right leg have greater bone masses than your left ones, often as much as 8% more. They have this greater mass and STRENGTH because you use them more. Incidentally just because a bone has greater mass does not always mean that bone is stronger. As we see modern wonder drugs such as the bisphosphonates can build bones with greater mass that are weaker and more likely to fracture.

      One way to stress your bones is to for example pick up and carry a heavy bag, one quarter of your body weight or more as you walk, turn and set down the bag. You want to flex and twist your bones under load. Running will do this for many of your bones. Weight lifting is also a good way, even stair climbing and vigorous walking are good for your bones.

      If you are elderly or have a bad case of current osteoporosis please take all the steps nutritionally BEFORE starting an exercise program and then ease into it by walking and stair climbing IMO. Please remember to start low and go slow. I would hate to see one of your snap a weak bone lifting too heavy a weight. Start with five pounds if you are frail; add a pound or two a week and soon enough you will be lifting one quarter your body weight. Remember as long as you are INCREASING your bone strength the odds are low that bone will fail; if you are providing all the nutrients required to build bone; avoiding the things that tear down your bones; stress will strengthen your bones; just as nature intends.

      WEIGHT BEARING EXERCISE is the BEST WAY to AVOID or TREAT OSTEOPOROSIS

      “This indicates that women who participate in impact sports such as volleyball and basketball had higher Bone Mass Densities and bone formation values than female swimmers.” Journal of Applied Physiology

      “Weight-bearing aerobic activities involve doing aerobic exercise on your feet, with your bones supporting your weight. Examples include walking, dancing, low-impact aerobics, elliptical training machines, stair climbing and gardening. These types of exercise work directly on the bones in your legs, hips and lower spine to slow mineral loss. They can also provide cardiovascular benefits, which boost heart and circulatory system health.” Mayo Clinic, Exercising with osteoporosis

      “Weight-bearing exercise led to significant increases above baseline in bone mineral content which were maintained with continued training in older, postmenopausal women. With reduced weight-bearing exercise, bone mass reverted to baseline levels.” Weight-bearing exercise training and lumbar bone mineral content in postmenopausal women

      “According to numerous studies and aging manuals, strength training, is an activity known to increase bone mass and thus decrease the possibility of osteoporosis.” Bone density sharply enhanced by weight training, even in the elderly

      “My sister uses your weight vest & has gone from Osteopenia to healthy bones!” Allison, Fredericksburg, TX

      “In fact as important as hormonal and dietary factors are, they are not the most critical factors for maintaining healthy bones; exercise is the most critical. One hour of moderate exercise three times a week has been shown to prevent bone loss and increase bone mass in postmenopausal women. Immobility doubles the rate of calcium excretion resulting in negative calcium balance. The best thing people can do to strengthen their bones is to get physical activity.” Murray & Pizzorno

      “Weight bearing exercises is as close as one can get when one is searching for a magic bullet in the prevention of osteoporosis. The positive effect of exercise on bone density is greatest in adults who have been sedimentary and just started exercising. Studies have shown that even elderly adults over age 80 who have done active exercise and weight bearing programs can significantly increase their bone density over a shot period of time. Weight bearing exercises such as walking, running, jogging, dancing, are especially important. While swimming is a great exercise for cardiovascular diseases, it is not as good for bone health when compared to walking and jogging.” Doctor Michael Lam MD

      “The surest method to build bone is weight bearing exercise. Stress on your bones creates tiny cracks in old weak bone. Your body responds by creating more osteoblasts, which fill the cracks with new bone.” Doctor David Williams MD

      THE BEST WAY to AVOID or TREAT OSTEOPORSIS is WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISE

      The best way to avoid or treat osteoporosis is weight bearing exercise (See Weight Bearing Exercise Protocol). Stressing your bones will make the bone stronger. If you are right handed your right arm and right leg have greater bone masses than your left ones, often as much as 8% more. They have this greater mass and STRENGTH because you use them more. Incidentally just because a bone has greater mass does not always mean that bone is stronger. As we see modern wonder drugs such as the bisphosphonates can build bones with greater mass that are weaker and more likely to fracture.

      One way to stress your bones is to for example pick up and carry a heavy bag, one quarter of your body weight or more as you walk, turn and set down the bag. You want to flex and twist your bones under load. Running will do this for many of your bones. Weight lifting is also a good way, even stair climbing and vigorous walking are good for your bones.

      If you are elderly or have a bad case of current osteoporosis please take all the steps nutritionally BEFORE starting an exercise program and then ease into it by walking and stair climbing IMO. Please remember to start low and go slow. I would hate to see one of your snap a weak bone lifting too heavy a weight. Start with five pounds if you are frail; add a pound or two a week and soon enough you will be lifting one quarter your body weight. Remember as long as you are INCREASING your bone strength the odds are low that bone will fail; if you are providing all the nutrients required to build bone; avoiding the things that tear down your bones; stress will strengthen your bones; just as nature intends.

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  8. Jennifer Solano says:

    Laura has is all right! Big Pharma and big money take presidence over the health of the population. The government is involved with big pharma as well. There is money to be made in killing the people and uneducating them!

       0 likes

  9. Leslie Bauer says:

    Yes Ladies, It is a shame all the way around, and certainly people that are paying attention will likely be the ones that benefit. I trust that possibly the people that are asleep will quietly succumb to death and hopefully not be procreating and passing on the idiot gene. I had a friend that said this to me at one point and i believe it now. Maybe this is the great plan?? However, the costs to society are ever greater and when we all reach the turning point, the ‘tipping point’ will any of this matter anyway? i wonder…

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  10. Very informative.

    I will forward this to my lady, she has been taking these types of medications in the past.

    hypnohotshot

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  11. Jennifer T. schultz says:

    These drugs that FDA manufactured for osteoporosis have been around for years without any women knowing the dangers. They also didnt realize that should not be on them for more than two years without taking a break. These very drugs; if taken on a long term basis can in fact cause femoral fractures just by sitting down or stepping off a curb.
    Women also need to know that fact that vitamin D and vitamin C are also important in the production of osteoclasts. Vitamin D especially is needed for cortical bone which is the hard bone in the core.
    Also, weight strengthing exercises; not with fifty pound weights to become like a bodybuilder; but smaller weights suck as 2.5 pounds and walk with them will exercise the muscles; strenghting the muscles thereby protecting the bones if you fall. The exercises also help the bone maintain strenght with the formation of osteoclasts.
    To Don you left out one important item about progesterone. Women who have had a hysterectomy (no uterus)are not candidates for progesterone. that is for women who have undergone a natural and not surgical menopause. I take only estrogen as I have had a hysterectomy. Many times doctors on news shows do not make that differentation. Only on ABC news with Dr. besser and Dr. nancy snyderman have made that distinnction. That is an extremely important factor. Also women who do take progesterone (have uterus still in them)have to aware of the increased risk of uterine or endometrial cancer. I am a surgical nurse and worked in the operating room for 18 years both as a surgical scrub and a circulating nurse. One of my specialties I worked with was with Dr. Verda Hunter(she is a Gyn-urological surgical oncologist who was conned by Robert Courtney; a pharmacist who watered down his chemo drugs to buy himself an expensive house, three classic cars among them an xke jaguar and is now in prison for killing many ;patients.) I wokred with verda hunter who is an excellent surgeon and taught me a great many things in surgery while i was working under her.
    One of her patients that received watered down chemo was a 16 yr old girl with ovarian cancer who died before her 17th birthday. Courtney is the one who killed her.
    I also took care of a x-ray tech who received some of her chemo from a doctor who received his drugs from courtney and she died from breast cancer when it metastisized to her liver.
    So, I would say to women; it is dependent on the women and what typpe of menopause she is going through, surgical or natural. there is not one treatment for everyone.
    The other factor for osteoporosis is if there was a history of fractures when the woman was growing up. also, small framed women are more prone to osteo. My mother who grew up during the depression(there was 14 children in her family)had poor nutrition during those trying times.
    My mother(god rest her soul passed away from acute embolic event along with alzheimers)used to tell me how they had to eat lard sandwiches many days. Also, when she got oler she developed a B12 deficiency which for some women will develop becasue of age. The intrinsic factor in the stomach that processes the B12 in enriched grains and breads is absent. Poor nutrition can also be a factor in many diseases not just in women but also in men as they age.
    doctors are also seeing many women developing osteo at youger ages such as in midt to late twenties. That is because of their obsession to be thin. They consume many diet sodas which can lead to depletion of phosphorus from the bones which is an important mineral for bone development. All wommen who are menopausal have to looked at individually.
    People who live in the northeast area of the U.S, should have Vitamin D levels checked as the summers are not long and the absence of sun. the northeast has a great population with low levels of Vitamin D.
    Pharmacy just wants to make big money but they hide side effects such as jaw necrosis, femur fractures just as they did with Vioxx. They ran the passage of medicare part D for seniors and didnt give the patients or doctors the right to bargain with prices. That stems from all the lobbying the pharm companies engage in.
    I worked in the operating room . I know all about the huge lunches that the anesthesiologists got from pharma reps, at christman gift baskets with not just cookies but with filet mignon and champagne. It isnt just all pencils, kleenex and note pads in the doc offices. Seminars in hawaii, golf seminars all for the chance for medical companies to sell the the hospital the docs work for.
    I know this is a long diatribe but this happens. During the bush administration they said kickbacks were going to change. Well they never did. Why do you think the stents they put out that were coated with medication were found not to be anymore effective than just opening the artery up with angioplasty balloon? Why did the maker of the new total hip DePuy get sued and found out that the new acetabulum which wasnt cemented in was taken off the market? The cup in the socket was found to be chipping off and it was made of cobalt which is a deadly poison to a persons’ body.
    All of this needs to change. The U.S. is the only industrialized company in the world that does not have a national data base on implants. Australia and england has had one in place for 25 years. The only thing we put in the pts. chart when I worked in K.C. was a sticker from the box of the implant. Nothing went into a data base.
    So folks if you think it is just drugs in this country that the pharm reps are pullng over your eyes think again.

       1 likes

  12. ExExZonie says:

    My doctor wanted to prescribe and administer Zometa when I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma. However, since I also had kidney failure, my insurer said No. Thank God! I didn’t have any bone involvement anyway!

       1 likes

  13. I discussed the dangers of these drugs in detail in my book, Arthritis, The Alternative Medicine Guide. An stellar resource for this information is Lara Pizzorno’s Book: YOUR BONES- as mentioned above. Here is a link to my radio show, The Natural Nurse and Dr. Z, where Lara is the guest and shares excellent information on bone health, as well as the known dangers of these drugs. http://ehearit.com/2011/06/12/lara-pizzorno-66.aspx

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  14. Dr. Richard Edlich says:

    I do not prescribe any bisphosphonate drugs to any of my patients with osteoporosis.

       0 likes

    • Lou says:

      Bravo Doctor

      How can any doctor who understands the bone modeling process and the method of action of the bisphosphonates give this poison to a woman? This is a real BLACK EYE on all involved. IMO it is intentional at the level of the HHS. I CANNOT believe they do not know what is going on.

      HHS is intentionally harming and worse women. Sounds awful but better safe than sorry.

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  15. Dorie says:

    I would like to know if they are including Boniva given by infusion, or just orally, which is hard on the esophagus and stomach. Is the infused version also considered harmful? It bypasses the oral route.

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  16. Right up there with the recent study I ran across that proclaimed that “use of vitamin D by women in communal living may increase bone fractures.” When you read the actual study, the conclusion was that because Vitamin D reduced their inflammation, hence aches and pains, the women became more active, hence more prone to falls resulting in fractures. The study has been used to throw ever more nastiness at a harmless, excellent vitamin.

    The harm that is being created by the conglomerate of the US FDA and CDC backing drugs and tearing down supplements, herbal medicine and homeopathy, while being in bed with Big Pharma, Big Food, Big Agriculture and Big Oil (most drugs are now made from petroleum by-products!) has created chronic disease, autism, 1 in 6 children having a serious developmental or other chronic disorder – and yet we the people are being terrorized daily by false prophets and fearmongering. We’ve become a germ-phobic, highly sanitized, and very sick world.

    Thank you, ANH for taking this on and keeping us aware!

       1 likes

  17. Johann says:

    The testing that the manufacturers did proved that it was harmful to bones, just in case the FDA failed to bother to read it and passed it because the application for drug testing was so expensive for the drug company, and made the drug company basically signing everyone’s paycheck at FDA for quite a while.

    The testing showed that it was very harmful to bones. It messes with bone remodeling, and causes something similar to Paget’s disease of the bone, which is really bad. I know, because I have Paget’s in my skull.

    But it weakens the bones so much that the body tries to compensate by adding new bone on the outside of the afflicted bone. So the conclusion of the tests said that people who took the drug had heavier bones, which is actually true, even if it is similar to diseased bone.

    It said the part about heavier bones right after it said that people who took the drug for any length of time had much weaker bones.

    I guess the FDA reads selectively.

       0 likes

  18. Laura says:

    As long as the Pharmaceutical Industry (Big Pharma) has a noose around the neck of he FDA and the rest of our elected officials, the FDA will always prostitute itself for the benefit of these Corporations! I just wish the Department of Justice would investigate who at the FDA is getting PAID UNDER THE TABLE FOR CORPORATE-FRIENDLY GUIDELINES THAT ARE EVER SO NEFARIOUSLY KILLING THE POPULATION!

       0 likes

    • denise says:

      The BEST comment yet!!!!!!!! Nothing more needs to be said!!! FDA hogtied by big Pharma at OUR expense!!!!!! When will this country WAKE UP!!!????? We are propagandized about EVERYHTING and we are STUPID enough to believe it!! We get what we deserve!!

         0 likes

    • Suzanne says:

      Your comment is right on!!

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  19. Don White says:

    One reason that bone loss exceeds bone formation is that the pit created by the osteoclast can break through another surface. This is most likely in spongy (trabecular) bone, and when this happens the osteoblasts can not fill that pit with the saturated solution that deposits the new bone. So the pit stays empty and is bone loss. The rate of such defects occurring depends on the rate of bone turnover, i.e., the rate at which the old bone is replaced by new bone.

    The rate at which the osteoclasts work is determined by the level of free (active) estrogen. So to slow down the rate of pit formation, including the empty pits, you want to increase the level of free estrogen. This is particularly important at menopause, where the drop in estrogen increases the turnover rate and hence the rate of loss of bone.

    But you must avoid slowing it down too much, since with bone age the number of microcracks grows as does the size of the bone crystals, both weakening the bone with no change in bone mass. This is reason to avoid Fosamax type drugs (with bisphosphonate), especially pre-menopause.

    But you should not just take more estrogen since the balance of estrogen E and progesterone P is very important for many body functions, and P drops much more than E at menopause. The body tries hard to maintain this balance, so hard that at menopause when E is greatly in excess, your body has mechanisms (including creation of SHBG) to convert some of that excess free E into bound E, which is biologically inactive. It also reduces the number of E receptors.

    So at menopause as you supplement with P (very preferably transdermally) in order to restore hormone balance to get rid of discomforts, you are also removing the body’s need to use the other mechanisms to restore balance and thereby actually increasing the level of active E also. For many women (I’ve heard about 80%) this additional P is enough to slow the bone turnover rate to a healthy level. Others may do well to take both additional E (either estradiol or all three) and P, but the E should be at the very smallest level they can find available.

    Bone benefits of supplemental P are also seen in other than menopausal cases, since a shortage of P, with the associated reduction in active E, can also occur with missed periods or high stress.

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  20. Suzanne says:

    This has been talked about long enough. We have known what the problems are for years. They should rule on these drugs as unsafe to take. Make Pharma go back to the drawing board.

       0 likes

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