Strontium ranelate can help patients with osteoporosis can rebuild new bone as well as preventing bone loss, a clinical study has shown.
The bone-forming activity in patients given strontium ranelate was 14 times greater at six months than in those treated with alendronate, and 17 times greater at one year.
The new results emerged from the largest ever biopsy study in post-menopausal women, presented at the European Congress on Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis in Valencia.
The study contrasts with advice from NICE, which currently recommends alendronate as the first line treatment for postmenopausal women who have had a fracture and had osteoporosis diagnosed. Strontium ranelate is only recommended as a fourth option if any of alendronate, risedronate or etidronate are unsuitable.
The international researchers conducted a double-blind, randomised controlled trial in which 268 post-menopausal women with osteoporosis underwent transiliac bone biopsies at baseline and after six or 12 months’ treatment with either 2g of strontium ranelate a day or 70mg of alendronate a week.
Dr Roland Charpurlat, a rheumatologist at Hôpital Edouard Herriot in Lyon, concluded: ‘In this study, the bone-forming activity is much greater in patients on strontium ranelate, than in those on alendronate, with an amplified effect after 12 months treatment.’
Osteoporos Int. 2011, published online March 24