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Climacteric. 2007 Oct;10 Suppl 2:74-8.

Osteoporosis: non-hormonal treatment.

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  • 1Division of Bone Diseases (World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Osteoporosis Prevention), Department of Rehabilitation and Geriatrics, University Hospitals, Geneva, Switzerland.


Significant progress has been achieved in osteoporosis treatment, in terms of agents with novel mechanisms of action, of new schedules of administration, and of long-term treatment safety demonstration. Alendronate, ibandronate, intranasal calcitonin, parathyroid hormones, raloxifene, risedronate, hormone replacement therapy, strontium ranelate and zoledronate decrease the risk of vertebral fracture. Alendronate, risedronate, strontium ranelate and zoledronate reduce the risk of hip fracture in women with osteoporosis, hormone replacement therapy in postmenopausal women, and calcium and vitamin D in institutionalized patients. In two meta-analyses, the combination of calcium and vitamin D was able to reduce the risk of falling, and hip fracture risk was decreased (>700 IU/day). Two subsequently published large trials were unable to detect any antifracture effect. PTH(1-84) reduces the risk of new vertebral fracture. There is no indication that combining PTH with a bone resorption inhibitor has any additional benefit to either drug alone. Strontium ranelate is a new agent for the treatment of osteoporosis, with antifracture efficacy whatever the severity of osteoporosis. An extension of the phase 3 trials up to 5 years has shown sustained antifracture efficacy. The humanized monoclonal antibody to the receptor activator of nuclear factor-kappaB ligand (RANKL) denosumab causes a rapid, high-magnitude, dose-dependent inhibition of bone resorption. Spine, hip and forearm bone mineral density increased, to an extent slightly higher than with the weekly administration of 70 mg alendronate.

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