Osteoporosis International

, Volume 22, Issue 9, pp 2551–2556 | Cite as

Oral bisphosphonates are associated with reduced mortality in frail older people: a prospective five-year study

  • P. N. SambrookEmail author
  • I. D. Cameron
  • J. S. Chen
  • L. M. March
  • J. M. Simpson
  • R. G. Cumming
  • M. J. Seibel
Short Communication



In a study of 2005 institutionalized older people, use of oral bisphosphonates was associated with a 27% reduction in risk of death compared to non-users after adjusting for potential confounders.


This study investigated whether reductions in mortality reported in a trial of intravenous zoledronate after hip fracture could be seen in older people taking oral bisphosphonates.


Two thousand and five institutionalized older people (mean age 85.7 years) were assessed at baseline and followed up for hip fracture and death for at least 5 years. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate effects of bisphosphonates on risk of death.


At baseline, 78 subjects were taking oral bisphosphonates. Over 5 years of follow-up, 1,596 participants (80%) died. Use of bisphosphonates was associated with a 27% reduction in risk of death compared to non-users after adjusting for age, gender, type of institution, immobility, number of medications, weight, cognitive function, co-morbidities, and hip fracture incidence during the follow-up period (hazard ratio 0.73; 95% CI, 0.56 to 0.94; P = 0.02).


Oral bisphosphonates are associated with a reduction in the risk of death in the elderly. The mechanism of effect requires further investigation.


Aged care facility Elderly Hip fracture Mortality Osteoporosis 



This study was supported by grants from the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, Osteoporosis Australia, and Arthritis Australia.

Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • P. N. Sambrook
    • 1
    Email author
  • I. D. Cameron
    • 2
  • J. S. Chen
    • 1
  • L. M. March
    • 1
  • J. M. Simpson
    • 3
  • R. G. Cumming
    • 4
  • M. J. Seibel
    • 5
  1. 1.Institute of Bone and Joint ResearchUniversity of SydneySt LeonardsAustralia
  2. 2.Rehabilitation Studies UnitUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  3. 3.Sydney School of Public HealthUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  4. 4.Centre for Education and Research on AgeingUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia
  5. 5.ANZAC Research InstituteUniversity of SydneySydneyAustralia

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