Original Article

Osteoporosis International

, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 239-244

First online:

Vitamin D status and response to treatment in post-menopausal osteoporosis

  • S. AdamiAffiliated withRheumatology Unit, Ospedale di Valeggio Email author 
  • , S. GianniniAffiliated withInternal Medicine, University of Padua
  • , G. BianchiAffiliated withRheumatology Unit, ASL3
  • , L. SinigagliaAffiliated withRheumatology Unit, Ospedale G Pini
  • , O. Di MunnoAffiliated withRheumatology Unit, University of Pisa
  • , C. E. FioreAffiliated withInternal Medicine, University of Catania
  • , S. MinisolaAffiliated withInternal Medicine, University of Rome
  • , M. RossiniAffiliated withRheumatology Unit, Ospedale di Valeggio

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Treatment with anti-resorptive agents over 13 months was associated with for three to fivefold lower bone mineral density changes and 1.5-fold increased risk of incidence fracture in vitamin D insufficient as compared to vitamin D repleted postmenopausal osteoporotic women.


Several drugs were registered for the treatment of osteoporosis on the basis of clinical trials in which vitamin D repletion was a pre-requisite inclusion criteria and vitamin D supplements were used as adjunctive therapy. However, in routine clinical practice these supplements are not consistently recommended.


We studied 1515 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis under treatment with anti-resorbing agents (alendronate, risedronate, raloxifene) for 13.1 months with an adherence > 75%. The patients were classified as vitamin D deficient (N = 514) or vitamin D repleted (N = 1001) according to risk factors (N = 1062) or the level of 25(OH) vitamin D [25(OH)D] above or below 50 nmol/l (N = 453).


Vitamin D deficient and vitamin D repleted subjects differed significantly for annualized spine and hip bone mineral density (BMD) changes adjusted for all available confounding factors (type of treatment, age, global calcium intake, baseline BMD values). One hundred fifty one patients suffered from a new incident clinical fracture. The adjusted odds ratio for incident fractures in vitamin D deficient as compared to vitamin D repleted women was 1.77 (1.20 – 2.59, 95% CI; p = 0.004).


Optimal vitamin D repletion seems to be necessary to maximize the response to anti-resorbers in terms of both BMD changes and anti-fracture efficacy.


Alendronate BMD changes Fracture risk Osteoporosis treatment Risedronate Vitamin D deficiency