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J Bone Miner Res. 2005 Jul;20(7):1235-43. Epub 2005 Feb 21.

Effects of intravenous pamidronate treatment in infants with osteogenesis imperfecta: clinical and histomorphometric outcome.

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Genetics Unit, Shriners Hospital for Children and McGill University, Montréal, Québec, Canada.


Clinical and histomorphometric outcome was compared between children with OI who had received pamidronate since infancy and age-matched patients who had never received pamidronate. Pamidronate was associated with improved vertebral shape and mass, higher cortical width, increased cancellous bone volume, and suppressed bone turnover.


Observations in small patient series indicate that infants with severe osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) benefit from treatment with cyclical intravenous pamidronate. However, detailed analyses of outcome are lacking for this age group.


Clinical outcome was evaluated in 29 children with OI types I (n = 3), III (n = 14), or IV (n = 12) who started pamidronate therapy before 2 years of age (age at treatment onset: median, 6 months; range, 2 weeks to 23 months) and who had completed 3 years of treatment (total annual pamidronate dose, 9 mg/kg). They were compared with a historical control group of 29 untreated children with severe OI who were matched for OI type and age at the 3-year treatment time-point. In addition, iliac bone histomorphometry was compared between 24 pamidronate-treated patients and 24 age-matched OI patients who had not received pamidronate.


Morphometric evaluation of lumbar vertebrae (L(1)-L(4)) showed that the shape of vertebral bodies was better preserved in pamidronate-treated patients. This was accompanied by significantly higher lumbar spine areal and volumetric BMD (+110 and +96%, respectively) and a larger vertebral bone volume (+26%) on densitometry. Regarding mobility function, the Pediatric Evaluation of Disability Inventory gross motor score was 50% greater in the pamidronate group (p < 0.001). Iliac bone histomorphometry showed 61% higher cortical width and 89% higher cancellous bone volume in pamidronate-treated patients. Bone formation rate per bone surface in the pamidronate group was only 17% that of untreated patients.


In conclusion, this study suggests that cyclical pamidronate treatment started in infancy leads to improved bone strength and better gross motor function but also suppresses bone turnover markedly. It is therefore prudent to reserve pamidronate treatment to infant OI patients who present with a moderate to severe phenotype.

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