Risedronate for prevention of bone mineral density loss in patients receiving high-dose glucocorticoids: a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial

C C Mok, K H Tong, C H To, Y P Siu, K M Ma
Osteoporosis International 2008, 19 (3): 357-64

UNLABELLED: This 6-month randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial shows that risedronate is well tolerated and effective in improving lumbar spine BMD and reducing loss of BMD at the hips in patients receiving high-dose prednisolone.

INTRODUCTION: Bisphosphonates have proven benefits in patients receiving chronic low-dose glucocorticoids. However, whether they are effective in preventing bone mineral density (BMD) loss during periods of high-dose glucocorticoid treatment is unclear. The objective of this paper is to study the efficacy of risedronate in preventing bone mineral density (BMD) loss in users of high-dose glucocorticoids.

METHODS: Adult patients with medical diseases treated with high-dose prednisolone (>0.5 mg/kg/day) were randomized to receive risedronate (5 mg/day) or placebo for 6 months in a double-blind manner, along with elemental calcium (1,000 mg/day). Changes in BMD were studied.

RESULTS: One hundred and twenty patients were recruited (82 women, age 42.8 +/- 14.3 years, 63% corticosteroid-naive, 30% women postmenopausal) and 103 completed the study. Baseline clinical characteristics and BMD were similar in the risedronate and placebo groups. At 6 months, a significant gain in spinal BMD was observed in the risedronate group (+0.7 +/- 0.3%; p = 0.03) but a drop was detected in the placebo group (-0.7 +/- 0.4%; p = 0.12). After adjustment for baseline BMD, age, gender, body mass index and cumulative prednisolone dosages, the inter-group difference in spinal BMD remained significant (1.4%; p = 0.006). Both groups had a significant drop in hip BMD, but the magnitude was greater in the placebo arm (-0.8 +/- 0.4% in risedronate versus -1.3 +/- 0.5% the in placebo). No new fractures developed. Subgroup analysis of corticosteroid-naive patients yielded similar results. Upper gastrointestinal adverse events were numerically more frequent in the risedronate group.

CONCLUSIONS: Risedronate improves spinal BMD in users of high-dose glucocorticoids.

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