Cyclical etidronate increases bone density in the spine and hip of postmenopausal women receiving long term corticosteroid treatment. A double blind, randomised placebo controlled study
- Piet Geusensa,b,c,
- Jan Dequekerd,
- Johan Vanhoofa,
- Rita Stalmansa,
- Steven Boonene,
- Jo Jolyd,
- Jos Nijsd,
- Jef Rausa,b
- aL Willems-Instituut, Diepenbeek, Belgium, bLimburgs Universitair Centrum, Diepenbeek, Belgium, cDepartment of Rheumatology, Akademisch Ziekenhuis Maastricht, the Netherlands, dArthritis and Metabolic Bone Disease Research Unit, K U Leuven, Belgium, eDepartment of Geriatric Medicine, K U Leuven, Belgium
- Professor P Geusens, Dr L Willems-Intituut, Limburgs Universitair Centrum, B-3590 Diepenbeek, Belgium.
- Accepted 3 September 1998
OBJECTIVE To study the effect of cyclic etidronate in secondary prevention of corticosteroid induced osteoporosis.
METHODS A double blind, randomised placebo controlled study comparing cyclic etidronate and placebo during two years in 37 postmenopausal women receiving long term corticosteroid treatment, mainly for polymyalgia rheumatica (40% of the patients) and rheumatoid arthritis (30%). Bone density was measured in the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and femoral trochanter.
RESULTS After two years of treatment there was a significant difference between the groups in mean per cent change from baseline in bone density in the spine in favour of etidronate (p=0.003). The estimated treatment difference (mean (SD)) was 9.3 (2.1)%. Etidronate increased bone density in the spine (4.9 (2.1)%, p<0.05) whereas the placebo group lost bone (−2.4 (1.6)%). At the femoral neck there was an estimated difference of 5.3 (2.6)% between the groups (etidronate: 3.6 (1.4)%, p<0.05, placebo: −2.4 (2.1)%). The estimated difference at the trochanter was 8.2 (3.0) (etidronate: 9.0 (1.5)%, p<0.0001, placebo: 0.5 (2.3)%). No significant bone loss occurred in the hip in placebo treated patients.
CONCLUSIONS Cyclic etidronate is an effective treatment for postmenopausal women receiving corticosteroid treatment and is well tolerated.