Pamidronate and osteoporosis prevention in liver transplant recipients
- First Online:
- Cite this article as:
- Pennisi, P., Trombetti, A., Giostra, E. et al. Rheumatol Int (2007) 27: 251. doi:10.1007/s00296-006-0196-2
Osteoporosis is a common complication in patients with end-stage liver disease and after orthotopic liver transplantation (LT), with resulting increasing fracture rate. In this study, we investigated the role of treatment with pamidronate in preventing further bone loss after LT. Eighty-five patients with end-stage liver disease were included in the study. Pamidronate 30 mg was given intravenously every 3 months after LT for the duration of 1 year to 43 patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis prior LT. The remainders served as controls. All patients received a supplementation of calcium and vitamin D. Bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck, and markers of bone metabolism were measured before and 12 months after LT. Sixty-two BMD were available at 12 months; only paired BMD were evaluated. A significant increase in lumbar spine BMD was observed in pamidronate treated patients. No change was evident in controls. Femoral neck BMD decreased in both treated and untreated patients. Osteocalcin serum levels and deoxypyridinoline urinary excretion were significantly reduced by treatment. Our study suggests that pamidronate decreases bone turnover and is effective in preventing the course of bone loss after LT, however the efficacy, at the dosage regimen employed and in a follow-up of 12 months, appears to be limited to trabecular bone, with no effect on the cortical structure of the femur.