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JAMA. 2005 Mar 2;293(9):1082-8.

Effect of folate and mecobalamin on hip fractures in patients with stroke: a randomized controlled trial.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, Mitate Hospital, Tagawa, Japan.



Stroke increases the risk of subsequent hip fracture by 2 to 4 times. Hyperhomocysteinemia is a risk factor for both ischemic stroke and osteoporotic fractures in elderly men and women. Treatment with folate and mecobalamin (vitamin B12) may improve hyperhomocysteinemia.


To investigate whether treatment with folate and vitamin B12 reduces the incidence of hip fractures in patients with hemiplegia following stroke.


A double-blind, randomized controlled study of 628 consecutive patients aged 65 years or older with residual hemiplegia at least 1 year following first ischemic stroke, who were recruited from a single Japanese hospital from April 1, 2000, to May 31, 2001. Patients were assigned to daily oral treatment with 5 mg of folate and 1500 microg of mecobalamin, or double placebo; 559 completed the 2-year follow-up.


Incidence of hip fractures in the 2 patient groups during the 2-year follow-up.


At baseline, patients in both groups had high levels of plasma homocysteine and low levels of serum cobalamin and serum folate. After 2 years, plasma homocysteine levels decreased by 38% in the treatment group and increased by 31% in the placebo group (P<.001). The number of hip fractures per 1000 patient-years was 10 and 43 for the treatment and placebo groups, respectively (P<.001). The adjusted relative risk, absolute risk reduction, and the number needed to treat for hip fractures in the treatment vs placebo groups were 0.20 (95% confidence interval [CI], 0.08-0.50), 7.1% (95% CI, 3.6%-10.8%), and 14 (95% CI, 9-28), respectively. No significant adverse effects were reported.


In this Japanese population with a high baseline fracture risk, combined treatment with folate and vitamin B12 is safe and effective in reducing the risk of a hip fracture in elderly patients following stroke.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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