Efficacy and safety of medical therapy for low bone mineral density in patients with Crohn disease: A systematic review with network meta-analysis

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Low bone mineral density (BMD) is a frequent complication of inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), particularly in patients with Crohn disease (CD). The aim of our study is to determine the efficacy and safety of different drugs used to treat low BMD in patients with CD.


PUBMED/MEDLINE, EMBASE, and Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials were searched for eligible studies. A random-effects model within a Bayesian framework was applied to compare treatment effects as standardized mean difference (SMD) with their corresponding 95% credible interval (CrI), while odds ratio (OR) was applied to compare adverse events with 95% CrI. The surface under the cumulative ranking area (SUCRA) was calculated to make the ranking of the treatments for outcomes.


Twelve randomized controlled trials (RCTs) were eligible. Compared with placebo, zoledronate (SMDs 2.74, 95% CrI 1.36–4.11) and sodium-fluoride (SMDs 1.23, 95% CrI 0.19–2.26) revealed statistical significance in increasing lumbar spine BMD (LSBMD). According to SUCRA ranking, zoledronate (SUCRA = 2.5%) might have the highest probability to be the best treatment for increasing LSBMD in CD patients among all agents, followed by sodium-fluoride (27%). For safety assessment, the incidence of adverse events (AEs) demonstrated no statistical difference between agents and placebo. The corresponding SUCRA values indicated that risedronate (SUCRA = 77%) might be the most safe medicine for low BMD in CD patients and alendronate ranked the worst (SUCRA = 16%).


Zoledronate might have the highest probability to be the best therapeutic strategy for increasing LSBMD. For the safety assessment, risedronate showed the greatest trend to decrease the risk of AEs. In the future, more RCTs with higher qualities are needed to make head-to-head comparison between 2 or more treatments.

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