Effectiveness of Osteoporosis Medications: Can They Help Prevent Fractures?

New Study Looks at Antiresorptive Agents in Patients with Increased Fracture Risk

Elderly couple looking at a laptop computerJapanese researchers set out to clarify the effectiveness of potent antiresorptive medications that are currently available to prevent fractures in patients with osteoporosis. They looked at patients living in Japan who have an increased fracture risk.

The study was recently published in the March 2012 issue of Drugs & Aging in the article “Efficacy of antiresorptive agents for preventing fractures in Japanese patients with an increased fracture risk: review of the literature.”

The research team performed a PubMed search to review the literature for randomized controlled trials (RCTs).

They looked for the following search terms:

  • Alendronate
  • Bazedoxifene
  • Etidronate
  • Fracture
  • Japan
  • Minodronate
  • Raloxifene
  • Risedronate

The researchers used 3 key inclusion criteria in this study: papers written in English, more than 50 participants per group, and a study period of more than 1 year.

A total of 14 RCTs met these inclusion criteria.

Using data from these RCTs, the researchers investigated the effectiveness of various antiresorptive agents for preventing 3 types of fractures: vertebral, non-vertebral, and hip fractures.

After reviewing the data, the researchers found that there is evidence that raloxifene decreased the incidence of clinical vertebral fractures. However, 3 antiresorptive medications—etidronate, alendronate, and minodronate (but not bazedoxifene)—decreased the incidence of morphometric vertebral fractures in patients who have involutional or postmenopausal osteoporosis.

Researchers noted that head-to-head clinical trials showed that both alendronate and raloxifene had similar effectiveness for preventing vertebral fractures in patients who have postmenopausal osteoporosis. On the other hand, they found that etidronate was not superior to risedronate for reducing the incidence of morphometric vertebral fractures in patients who have involutional osteoporosis.

Additionally, they found that in patients who have Parkinson’s disease, alendronate decreased the incidence of hip fractures. They also found that in patients who have Alzheimer’s disease or who have had a stroke, risedronate decreased the incidence of non-vertebral fractures and hip fractures.

According to their findings, researchers confirmed the effectiveness of 3 medications that prevent vertebral fractures: etidronate, minodronate, and raloxifene. They also confirmed the effectiveness of alendronate for preventing both vertebral and hip fractures. Furthermore, the study proved that risedronate is effective for preventing vertebral, non-vertebral, and hip fractures in patients living in Japan who are at an increased fracture risk.

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