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Calcium and vitamin D supplements are ineffective in secondary prevention of fractures in elderly patients, new research suggests.

The study, published online in The Lancet this week, found vitamin D3 and calcium were no more effective than placebo at reducing the incidence of fractures.

The researchers said supplements should be targeted at the frail elderly, but that

they were not sufficient

for secondary prevention of fractures.

They recruited 5,292 people over 70 who were mobile before developing a low trauma fracture and randomised them to 800iu daily oral vitamin D3, 1,000mg of calcium, vitamin D3 and calcium combined, or placebo.

Researcher Dr Frazer Anderson, a senior lecturer in geriatric medicine at the University of Southampton, said: 'The main thing to stress is that the study does not demonstrate calcium and vitamin D are of no value.

'But after a fracture vitamin D and calcium are not enough ­ you need bisphosphonates as well. In secondary prevention it's not enough just to have calcium and vitamin D.'

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