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Expert Opin Pharmacother. 2002 Nov;3(11):1643-56.

Clodronate: mechanisms of action on bone remodelling and clinical use in osteometabolic disorders.

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Department of Internal Medicine, University of Florence, Viale Pieraccini 6, 50139 Florence, Italy.


Clodronate (CI2MBP) is a non-aminated bisphosphonate that inhibits bone resorption. Studies on the mechanisms of action of this molecule on bone metabolism have been limited and only recently has information on the molecular machinery that underlies its effects on the bone remodelling process become available. Pharmacological and clinical studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of clodronate in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and in all conditions of excessive bone resorption, such as Paget's disease, hypercalcaemia of malignancy and osteolytic metastases. Clodronate is the only bisphosphonate currently available on the market for both oral and parenteral administration. Treatment with clodronate via intramuscular administration of doses of 100 mg/week has shown significant effects on bone mineral density after 6 months in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis and these effects are maintained 3 years after the start of the treatment. In a recent controlled clinical study, a significant increase in bone mineral density was observed, associated with a 46% reduction in the incidence of vertebral fractures. However, most relevant studies have been small, unblinded and short-term and have not systematically examined the effects of the dose and dosing intervals on bone mineral density and markers of bone turnover. Ongoing controlled clinical studies may offer answers regarding potential use of clodronate in osteoporosis and also about dosage of intermittent administration. This review summarises the accumulated knowledge in the mechanisms of action of clodronate on bone remodelling. Moreover, the clinical trials on the use of clodronate in metabolic bone diseases are described in-depth. We believe that this work will help to better focus on the need for more research on a compound which has potential applications in prevention and therapy of osteoporosis. However, studies that demonstrate an effect on the rate of fractures are needed before any recommendation can be made.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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