Prevention of early postmenopausal bone loss with cyclical etidronate
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Cyclical etidronate has been shown to be effective in the treatment of established postmenopausal osteoporosis but less is known about its effects on early menopausal bone loss. The aim of the study was to establish the effects of cyclic etidronate therapy on spinal and proximal femoral bone mineral loss in early post-menopausal women. One hundred and seven women who were within 6 months to 3 years of the menopause were recruited into a 2-year, randomised, placebo-controlled, double-blind trial. Spinal bone mineral density was within 2 SD of the age-matched mean reference value at baseline. Bone mineral density in the lumbar spine and proximal femur was assessed by dual energy X-ray absorptiometry at baseline and thereafter at 6 monthly intervals for 2 years. Urinary collagen cross-links (deoxypyridinoline and pyridinoline) were measured at the same time points. Seventy-seven women completed the study. At the end of the treatment period, the mean bone mineral density change from baseline in the treated group was +0.14% and −0.06% in the lumbar spine and femoral neck, respectively, compared to −1.49 and −2.22 in the control group. Overall, there was a significant difference between the two groups at both these sites (p=0.01 and 0.001, respectively). No significant differences between the groups were demonstrated at the greater trochanter or Ward’s triangle. The conclusion was that cyclical etidronate therapy prevents bone loss in the spine and femoral neck in early postmenopausal women. It provides a safe and effective therapeutic option for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis in women who are unwilling or unable to tolerate hormone replacement therapy.
Key-wordsCyclical etidronate bisphosphonates early intervention BMD osteoporosis prevention
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