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      Randomised trial of effect of alendronate on risk of fracture in women with existing vertebral fractures

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          Vitamin D3 and calcium to prevent hip fractures in the elderly women.

          Hypovitaminosis D and a low calcium intake contribute to increased parathyroid function in elderly persons. Calcium and vitamin D supplements reduce this secondary hyperparathyroidism, but whether such supplements reduce the risk of hip fractures among elderly people is not known. We studied the effects of supplementation with vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and calcium on the frequency of hip fractures and other nonvertebral fractures, identified radiologically, in 3270 healthy ambulatory women (mean [+/- SD] age, 84 +/- 6 years). Each day for 18 months, 1634 women received tricalcium phosphate (containing 1.2 g of elemental calcium) and 20 micrograms (800 IU) of vitamin D3, and 1636 women received a double placebo. We measured serial serum parathyroid hormone and 25-hydroxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) concentrations in 142 women and determined the femoral bone mineral density at base line and after 18 months in 56 women. Among the women who completed the 18-month study, the number of hip fractures was 43 percent lower (P = 0.043) and the total number of nonvertebral fractures was 32 percent lower (P = 0.015) among the women treated with vitamin D3 and calcium than among those who received placebo. The results of analyses according to active treatment and according to intention to treat were similar. In the vitamin D3-calcium group, the mean serum parathyroid hormone concentration had decreased by 44 percent from the base-line value at 18 months (P < 0.001) and the serum 25(OH)D concentration had increased by 162 percent over the base-line value (P < 0.001). The bone density of the proximal femur increased 2.7 percent in the vitamin D3-calcium group and decreased 4.6 percent in the placebo group (P < 0.001). Supplementation with vitamin D3 and calcium reduces the risk of hip fractures and other nonvertebral fractures among elderly women.
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            Effect of oral alendronate on bone mineral density and the incidence of fractures in postmenopausal osteoporosis. The Alendronate Phase III Osteoporosis Treatment Study Group.

            Postmenopausal osteoporosis is a serious health problem, and additional treatments are needed. We studied the effects of oral alendronate, an aminobisphosphonate, on bone mineral density and the incidence of fractures and height loss in 994 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. The women were treated with placebo or alendronate (5 or 10 mg daily for three years, or 20 mg for two years followed by 5 mg for one year); all the women received 500 mg of calcium daily. Bone mineral density was measured by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. The occurrence of new vertebral fractures and the progression of vertebral deformities were determined by an analysis of digitized radiographs, and loss of height was determined by sequential height measurements. The women receiving alendronate had significant, progressive increases in bone mineral density at all skeletal sites, whereas those receiving placebo had decreases in bone mineral density. At three years, the mean (+/- SE) differences in bone mineral density between the women receiving 10 mg of alendronate daily and those receiving placebo were 8.8 +/- 0.4 percent in the spine, 5.9 +/- 0.5 percent in the femoral neck, 7.8 +/- 0.6 percent in the trochanter, and 2.5 +/- 0.3 percent in the total body (P < 0.001 for all comparisons). The 5-mg dose was less effective than the 10-mg dose, and the regimen of 20 mg followed by 5 mg was similar in efficacy to the 10-mg dose. Overall, treatment with alendronate was associated with a 48 percent reduction in the proportion of women with new vertebral fractures (3.2 percent, vs. 6.2 percent in the placebo group; P = 0.03), a decreased progression of vertebral deformities (33 percent, vs. 41 percent in the placebo group; P = 0.028), and a reduced loss of height (P = 0.005) and was well tolerated. Daily treatment with alendronate progressively increases the bone mass in the spine, hip, and total body and reduces the incidence of vertebral fractures, the progression of vertebral deformities, and height loss in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
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              Hormone therapy to prevent disease and prolong life in postmenopausal women.

               Deborah Grady (1992)
              To critically review the risks and benefits of hormone therapy for asymptomatic postmenopausal women who are considering long-term hormone therapy to prevent disease or to prolong life. Review of the English-language literature since 1970 on the effect of estrogen therapy and estrogen plus progestin therapy on endometrial cancer, breast cancer, coronary heart disease, osteoporosis, and stroke. We used standard meta-analytic statistical methods to pool estimates from studies to determine summary relative risks for these diseases in hormone users and modified lifetable methods to estimate changes in lifetime probability and life expectancy due to use of hormone regimens. There is evidence that estrogen therapy decreases risk for coronary heart disease and for hip fracture, but long-term estrogen therapy increases risk for endometrial cancer and may be associated with a small increase in risk for breast cancer. The increase in endometrial cancer risk can probably be avoided by adding a progestin to the estrogen regimen for women who have a uterus, but the effects of combination hormones on risk for other diseases has not been adequately studied. We present estimates for changes in lifetime probabilities of disease and life expectancy due to hormone therapy in women who have had a hysterectomy; with coronary heart disease; and at increased risk for coronary heart disease, hip fracture, and breast cancer. Hormone therapy should probably be recommended for women who have had a hysterectomy and for those with coronary heart disease or at high risk for coronary heart disease. For other women, the best course of action is unclear.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                The Lancet
                The Lancet
                Elsevier BV
                01406736
                December 1996
                December 1996
                : 348
                : 9041
                : 1535-1541
                Article
                10.1016/S0140-6736(96)07088-2
                f89dbb48-a35e-4b67-a1d4-51f092d64a87
                © 1996

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