Nitroglycerin Strengthens Bones in Older Women

Treatment found to increase bone mineral density, lower bone resorption in postmenopausal women

WEDNESDAY, Feb. 23 (HealthDay News) -- Nitroglycerin ointment appears to increase bone mineral density (BMD) and decrease bone resorption in postmenopausal women when administered daily, according to research published in the Feb. 23 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Sophie A. Jamal, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto, and colleagues randomized 243 postmenopausal women with lumbar spine T scores between 0 and −2 to 15 mg per day of nitroglycerin ointment or placebo applied at bedtime for 24 months to determine if the treatment improves lumbar spine BMD and to test its effect on hip BMD, bone geometry, bone density at the radius and tibia, and bone turnover.

Compared to the placebo group, the researchers found that the women in the treatment group had significant increases in areal BMD at the lumbar spine, total hip, and femoral neck after two years. Women in the treatment group also had increased volumetric trabecular BMD, cortical thickness, periosteal circumference, polar section modulus, and polar moment of inertia at the radius and tibia. This group had increased bone-specific alkaline phosphatase and decreased urine N-telopeptide. The incidence of serious adverse events did not differ between the two groups.

"Among postmenopausal women, nitroglycerin ointment modestly increased BMD and decreased bone resorption," the authors write.

Three authors disclosed financial relationships with pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies.

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