Bazedoxifene: the evolving role of third-generation selective estrogen-receptor modulators in the management of postmenopausal osteoporosis

Barry S Komm, Arkadi A Chines
Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease 2012, 4 (1): 21-34
Osteoporosis is a significant public health concern, particularly for postmenopausal women. Current treatment options may not be appropriate for all women. Selective estrogen-receptor modulators (SERMs) are a class of molecules with tissue-selective activity. Bazedoxifene is currently in clinical development for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis. In a 2-year, phase III, osteoporosis prevention study (N = 1583), bazedoxifene 10, 20, and 40 mg was shown to preserve bone mineral density and decrease biochemical markers of bone turnover compared with placebo in postmenopausal women at risk for osteoporosis. In a pivotal 3-year, phase III, osteoporosis treatment study (N = 7492), bazedoxifene 20 and 40 mg significantly reduced the incidence of new vertebral fractures compared with placebo (p < 0.05 for both) in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. In a post hoc subgroup analysis of women at higher risk for fracture (n = 1772), bazedoxifene 20 mg significantly reduced the risk of nonvertebral fractures versus placebo (p = 0.02) and raloxifene 60 mg (p = 0.05). Bazedoxifene 20 mg has demonstrated sustained efficacy in reducing the risk of vertebral fractures over 5 and 7 years. Overall, bazedoxifene was generally safe and well tolerated, with favorable endometrial and breast safety profiles. As with other SERMs, the rate of deep vein thrombosis was higher in the bazedoxifene groups compared with placebo at 3 and 5 years. Considering its demonstrated efficacy and safety, bazedoxifene may be an appropriate osteoporosis therapy for women who cannot take or are unwilling to take bisphosphonates because of safety or tolerability issues. Bazedoxifene may also be appropriate for younger women at increased fracture risk who are concerned about the effects of long-term bisphosphonate therapy. This article reviews the results of key clinical trials of bazedoxifene for the prevention and treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis and describes its role in clinical practice.

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