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Bone. 2003 Jan;32(1):56-61.

Bone density changes in Paget's disease 2 years after iv pamidronate: profound, sustained increases in pagetic bone with severity-related loss in forearm nonpagetic cortical bone.

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Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, 6000 Western Australia, Australia.


Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured at three sites (forearm, spine, and hip) using dual X-ray and single-photon absorptiometry in 68 patients with Paget's disease before and after treatment with iv pamidronate. Patients were treated according to the severity of their disease; the mild category (Group I, hydroxyproline excretion (Hyp(E)) <5.0 micromol/L GF) received 120 mg, the moderate category (Group II, Hyp(E) 5.0-9.99 micromol/GF) 180 mg, and the severe category (Group III, > or = 10.0 micromol/GF) 240 mg. Group I was followed for 1 year, and both Groups II and III for 2 years. At the lumbar spine in pagetic bone there were no differences between groups in early responses, with a profound increase 6 months after treatment 20.5 +/- 2.0% above baseline values to 1.403 +/- 0.063 g/cm(2) (mean +/- SEM)(P < 0.001). This increase in BMD was sustained to 2 years (1.355 +/- 0.078 g/cm(2), P < 0.001) and was 15.0 +/- 2.2% above baseline values. The pagetic total hip BMD increased after treatment in all groups, with a mean rise of 10.4 +/- 1.4% at 1 year to 1.505 +/- 0.083 g/cm(2) (P < 0.01). At the pagetic femoral neck the response was similar, with a peak significant rise at 1 year of 10.7 +/- 1.7% to 1.403 +/- 0.097 g/cm(2) (P < 0.01). In nonpagetic spinal bone there were no differences between the group responses, with a combined mean increase of 4.3 +/- 0.7% at 1 year to 0.999 +/- 0.027 g/cm(2) (P < 0.01). In both Groups II and III the increase in BMD was significantly higher than baseline values at 1 and 2 years (P < 0.01). In the nonpagetic total hip BMD remained unchanged over the 2-year period and likewise, there were no significant changes from baseline at the nonpagetic femoral neck site. In the nonpagetic forearm we found a significant loss in BMD at the ultradistal (mainly trabecular), midregion (80% cortical), and proximal shaft (95% cortical) sites in Group III, persisting to 2 years at the latter two sites. The increase in bone density in pagetic bone, persisting at least 2 years, provides a new modality of assessment of the response of pagetic bone to treatment and suggests a mechanism for the reduction in fracture risk in such bone after effective bisphosphonate treatment. Severity-dependent nonpagetic forearm bone loss, persisting to 2 years at cortical sites, suggests a potential drug-induced fracture risk at the forearm and possibly elsewhere in the absence of appropriate preventive cotreatment.

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