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Meta-analysis of the efficacy of alendronate for the prevention of hip fractures in postmenopausal women


Treatment with alendronate, a potent and specific inhibitor of bone resorption, is known to significantly reduce fracture risk among women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. The purpose of this meta-analysis was to assess the consistency of the effect of alendronate in reducing the risk of hip fracture among different studies and populations. Data from completed, randomized, treatment studies were pooled in a meta-analysis. The duration of the studies ranged from 1–4.5 years. The dose of alendronate ranged from 5–20 mg/day, with over 95% of patients receiving either 5 or 10 mg/day during the trials. In patients with a T-score of less than or equal to −2.0, or with a vertebral fracture, the effect on hip fracture risk consistently favored patients receiving alendronate therapy, with an overall reduction in risk of hip fracture of 45% [95% confidence interval (CI) 16% to 64%, P=0.007]. For patients who met the criteria of osteoporosis, as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO), the overall risk reduction was 55% (95% CI 29% to 72%, P=0.0008). In both analyses we performed a sensitivity analysis by removing one study at a time. The strength of the evidence was not dependent on any one study. We conclude that therapy with alendronate is associated with significant and clinically important reductions in the incidence of hip fracture in women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. The overall reduction is consistent among different patient populations.

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Correspondence to Socrates E. Papapoulos.

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Papapoulos, S.E., Quandt, S.A., Liberman, U.A. et al. Meta-analysis of the efficacy of alendronate for the prevention of hip fractures in postmenopausal women. Osteoporos Int 16, 468–474 (2005).

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  • Alendronate
  • Bone mineral density
  • Hip fracture
  • Meta-analysis
  • Postmenopausal osteoporosis
  • Risk reduction