Effects of alendronate for treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: A meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

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Abstract

Background:

Alendronate has been used to prevent or treat glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO), data regarding its efficacy are inconsistent. We conducted the current systematic review and meta-analysis to evaluate both efficacy and safety of alendronate in the treatment of GIO.

Methods:

PubMed, Embase, the Cochrane Controlled Trials Registry, and the China Academic Journal Network Publishing Databases were searched up through March 1, 2018. Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) involving patients which received alendronate treatment were included. Outcome measures were bone mineral density (BMD) changes, bone fractures, and adverse reactions. Data from the individual studies were pooled using random or fixed effect models based on heterogeneity. Effect size was reported as standardized mean differences (SMD) for continuous outcomes and pooled odds ratios (OR) for dichotomous outcomes, with 95% confidence interval (CI).

Results:

Overall, 10 studies involving 1002 patients were included in the present investigation. Alendronate treatment significantly increased BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck during 6 to 24 months. These beneficial effects were apparent at 12 months after treatment for the lumbar spine but not the femoral neck BMD. Alendronate treatment did not significantly change fracture risk nor induce significant differences in adverse gastrointestinal effects.

Conclusion:

Alendronate significantly increases BMD of the lumbar spine and femoral neck in patients with GIO, but does not appear to reduce the risk of fractures. As relatively insufficient data regarding the GIO fracture incidence has been reported, more RCTs need to be carried out to determine the efficacy of alendronate in the prevention of GIO fracture.

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