Teriparatide May Help Treat Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

Drug found better than alendronate at increasing bone mineral density and preventing fractures
By A. Agrawal, PhD
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 5 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, treatment with teriparatide is more effective than alendronate in increasing bone mineral density and preventing fractures, according to a study in the November issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism.

Kenneth G. Saag, M.D., of the University of Alabama in Birmingham, and colleagues randomly assigned 428 patients with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis to teriparatide (bone anabolic drug) or alendronate (anti-resorptive drug) daily.

After 36 months, the researchers found that increases in bone mineral density were significantly better in the teriparatide group compared with the alendronate group (11.0 versus 5.3 percent for lumbar spine, 5.2 versus 2.7 percent for total hip, and 6.3 versus 3.4 percent for femoral neck). The teriparatide group had significantly higher levels of bone formation markers than the alendronate group. Despite similar incidence of non-vertebral fractures in both groups, the researchers found significantly fewer vertebral fractures in the teriparatide group as compared to the alendronate group (1.7 versus 7.7 percent).

"Our findings indicate that subjects with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis treated with teriparatide for 36 months had greater increases in bone mineral density and fewer new vertebral fractures than subjects treated with alendronate," the authors conclude.

The trial was supported by Eli Lilly and Company, of which several authors are employees. In addition, several authors reported financial and consulting relationships with pharmaceutical companies.

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