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Biomed Res Int. 2013;2013:463589. doi: 10.1155/2013/463589. Epub 2013 Aug 24.

Evidence for the treatment of osteoporosis with vitamin D in residential care and in the community dwelling elderly.

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  • 1Older Persons Health Specialist Service, Canterbury District Health Board, Christchurch 8022, New Zealand ; Department of Medicine, University of Otago, Christchurch 8140, New Zealand.



Vitamin D is common treatment for osteoporosis. Both age >70 years and living in residential care are associated with increased fracture risk. Community dwelling elderly are a heterogeneous group who may have more similatiry with residential care groups than younger community dwelling counterparts.


To review the evidence for cholecalciferol or ergocalciferol tretment of osteoporosis in either community dwelling patients aged ≥70 years of age, or redidential care patients. Secondly endpoints were changes in bone mineral denisty, and in bone turnover markers.


We performed a literature search using search terms for osteoporosis and vitamin D. Treatment for at least one year was required.


Only one residential care study using cholecalciferol, showed non-vertebral and hip fracture reduction in vitamin D deficient subjects. In the community setting one quasi randomised study using ergocalciferol showed reduction in total but not hip or non-vertebral fracture, and a second randomised study showed increased hip fracture risk. Three studies reported increases in hip bone mineral denisty.


A minority of studies demonstrated a fracture benefit form vitamin D and one suggested possible harm in a community setting. Current practice should be to only offer this treatment to subjects identified as deficient.

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