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Calcif Tissue Int. 2011 Jun;88(6):485-94. doi: 10.1007/s00223-011-9482-4. Epub 2011 Apr 11.

Randomized trial of alendronate plus vitamin D3 versus standard care in osteoporotic postmenopausal women with vitamin D insufficiency.

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  • 1Rheumatic Diseases Unit, Molecular Medicine Centre, Institute of Genetics and Molecular Medicine, Western General Hospital, University of Edinburgh, UK.


Vitamin D insufficiency is common in patients with osteoporosis. We conducted a randomized trial comparing alendronate 70 mg combined with vitamin D(3) 5,600 IU in a single tablet (ALN/D5600, n = 257) with standard care chosen by the patients' personal physicians (n = 258) in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis (BMD T score ≤2.5 or ≤1.5 and a prior fragility fracture) who had vitamin D insufficiency (serum 25[OH]D values 8-20 ng/ml) and who were at risk of falls. Virtually all patients randomized to standard care received bisphosphonate therapy, and in approximately 70% of cases this was combined with vitamin D supplements. However, only 24% took ≥800 IU/day of supplemental vitamin D. At 6 months the proportion of patients with vitamin D insufficiency was 8.6% in the ALN/D5600 group compared with 31.0% in the standard care group (P < 0.001). Those in the ALN/D5600 group also had a greater reduction in urinary NTX/creatinine ratio (-57% vs. -46%, P < 0.001) and bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (-47% vs. -40%, P < 0.001). In the ALN/5600 group, by 12 months the increase in BMD was greater at the lumbar spine (4.9% vs. 3.9%, P = 0.047) and the total hip (2.2% vs. 1.4%, P = 0.035), significantly fewer patients were vitamin D-insufficient (11.3% vs. 36.9%, P < 0.001), and bone turnover marker (BTM) results were similar to those at 6 months. There was no difference between groups in those who experienced falls or fractures, and adverse events were similar. Based on the finding that ALN/D5600 was more effective than standard care at correcting vitamin D insufficiency, increasing BMD, and reducing BTMs in this patient group, greater attention needs to be directed toward optimizing the treatment of osteoporosis and correcting vitamin D deficiency in postmenopausal women.

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