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J Bone Miner Res. 2014 Jun;29(6):1346-55.

Two-year results of a randomized placebo-controlled trial of vertebroplasty for acute osteoporotic vertebral fractures.


We previously reported the results of a randomized controlled trial that found no benefit of vertebroplasty over a sham procedure for acute osteoporotic vertebral fractures up to 6 months. We report here the 12-month and 24-month clinical outcomes of this trial. Eligible participants (n = 78) were randomly assigned to receive either vertebroplasty (n = 38) or a sham procedure (n = 40). Randomization was stratified by treatment center, sex, and symptom duration (<6 weeks or ≥6 weeks). Participants, investigators (except the treating radiologists), and outcome assessors were blinded to group assignments. Enrolment occurred between April 2004 and October 2008 with follow-up completed October 2010. The primary outcome was overall pain measured on a scale of 0 (no pain) to 10 (maximal imaginable pain). Secondary outcomes included pain at rest and at night, disability, quality of life, perceived recovery, and adverse events, including incident clinically apparent vertebral fractures. At 12 and 24 months, complete data were available for 67 (86%) and 57 (73%) participants, respectively. At 12 months participants in the active group improved by 2.4 ± 2.7 (mean ± SD) units in overall pain compared with 1.9 ± 2.8 units in the sham group, adjusted between-group mean difference (MD) 0.3 (95% confidence interval [CI], –0.9 to 1.5), whereas at 24 months participants in the active group had improved by 3.0 ± 3.1 units compared with 1.9 ± 3.0 units in the sham group, MD 1.1 (95% CI, –0.3 to 2.4). No significant between-group differences were observed for any of the secondary efficacy outcomes at 12 or 24 months. There were no between-group differences in incident clinical vertebral fractures up to 24 months (active: n = 14, sham: n = 13), although the study had inadequate power for this outcome. These results provide further evidence that the use of this treatment in routine care is unsupported.

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