Prevention of Bone Loss by Clodronate in Early Postmenopausal Women with Vertebral Osteopenia: A Dose-Finding Study
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This double-masked, placebo-controlled study was undertaken to determine the efficacy and safety of oral clodronate in the prevention of bone loss in early postmenopausal women with vertebral osteopenia. Altogether 610 women with a mean age of 53 years were recruited for the study. They were 1–5 years postmenopausal and their lumbar spine bone mineral density (BMD) was at least 1 standard deviation below the mean of premenopausal women (T-score ≤−1). The subjects were randomized into five study groups to receive either placebo, clodronate 65 mg, 400 mg or 800 mg daily, or intermittent clodronate in 3 month cycles with 400 mg daily for 15 days followed with no treatment for 75 days for 3 years. One hundred and eighty-seven of 509 women who completed the primary study continued in the extension study of 2 years in which previous placebo users were switched to clodronate 800 mg daily, while previous users of 400 mg or 800 mg of clodronate used either placebo or 800 mg of clodronate daily. In the primary study clodronate was administered in the evening, and in the extension 1 h before breakfast on an empty stomach. In the primary study mean changes in lumbar spine BMD were −3.4% in the placebo group and +0.4% in 800 mg clodronate group [difference between groups at 3 years 3.8% (95% CI 2.7% to 4.9%, p<0.0001)], and in the trochanter area BMD −1.1% in the placebo group, and + 0.4% in the 800 mg clodronate group [difference between groups at 3 years 1.5% (95% CI 0.05% to 2.9%)]. During the extension study mean changes in lumbar spine BMD were +1.5% in the clodronate group and −0.2 % in the placebo group [difference between groups 1.7% (CI 0.4% to 3.0%, p = 0.010)] and in trochanter BMD were +2.5% in the clodronate group and no change in the placebo group [difference between groups 2.1% (CI 0.3% to 3.9%, p = 0.007)]. No statistically significant differences between the placebo and 800 mg clodronate groups were found in the femoral neck BMD. In the primary study the urinary excretion of type I collagen aminoterminal telopeptide (NTX) decreased by 44% (p<0.0001 compared with placebo) and that of deoxypyridinoline by 18% (p<0.0001) in the clodronate 800 mg group. In the extension study urinary NTX decreased by 51% (p<0.0001) in those who were switched to 800 mg of clodronate and increased by 67% (p<0.0001) in those who stopped using that dose. There was no difference in the frequency of gastrointestinal complaints between clodronate- and placebo-treated patients in the primary study, but they were more common among women who received clodronate in the extension phase. Clodronate in daily doses of 400–800 mg caused a slight elevation of aminotransferase levels, usually within the reference range. In bone biopsies no defect in mineralization was found. In conclusion, clodronate in a daily dose of 800 mg prevents early postmenopausal bone loss at the sites of the skeleton in which cancellous bone predominates. It effectively reduces bone resorption and bone turnover rate. Antifracture efficacy of clodronate remains to be established by prospective, placebo-controlled trials.
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