Here’s a happy side effect of the osteoporosis medication known as zolendronic acid (Reclast): it reduced the death rate in patients who received the yearly injection by nearly one-third. Researchers at Duke University found that within 90 days of having hip surgery and getting the treatment, there was a 28 per cent reduction in deaths among patients. What’s more, there was 35 per cent less chance of another fracture. The scientists say they don’t know how the medication affects mortality. What is known is that hip fractures can precipitate death within a year, often from cardiovascular problems, infections or cancer. The researchers will be looking at how zolendronic acid, which affects the immune system and inflammation, may help stave those illnesses off. Interestingly, the medication did not help patients who lived in a nursing home before they broke their hip, or who had severe cognitive impairment.