Fracture prevention with zoledronate in older women with osteopenia

While bisphosphonates are known to prevent fractures in osteoporosis patients, researchers wondered if that benefit also applies to osteopenia. To investigate, they recruited 2,000 women with the condition for a double-blind, randomized trial.

While bisphosphonates are known to prevent fractures in osteoporosis patients, researchers wondered if that benefit also applies to osteopenia. To investigate, they recruited 2,000 women with the condition for a double-blind, randomized trial. Participants, all age 65 years or older, were allocated either to the zoledronate cohort or to a control group that received a saline placebo. Treatment was administered every 18 months over a period of 6 years, with a prespecified primary outcome of time to first vertebral or nonvertebral fragility fracture. A total of 190 of the placebo recipients suffered a fragility fracture, compared with 122 in the active-treatment group. Not only was the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fragility fracture lower with zoledronate, but the drug was associated with a reduced risk of symptomatic fractures and height loss.