Hip fracture risk and safety with alendronate treatment in the oldest-old.

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There is high evidence for secondary prevention of fractures, including hip fracture, with alendronate treatment, but alendronate's efficacy to prevent hip fractures in the oldest-old (≥80 years old), the population with the highest fracture risk, has not been studied.


To investigate whether alendronate treatment amongst the oldest-old with prior fracture was related to decreased hip fracture rate and sustained safety.


Using a national database of men and women undergoing a fall risk assessment at a Swedish healthcare facility, we identified 90 795 patients who were 80 years or older and had a prior fracture. Propensity score matching (four to one) was then used to identify 7844 controls to 1961 alendronate-treated patients. The risk of incident hip fracture was investigated with Cox models and the interaction between age and treatment was investigated using an interaction term.


The case and control groups were well balanced in regard to age, sex, anthropometrics and comorbidity. Alendronate treatment was associated with a decreased risk of hip fracture in crude (hazard ratio (HR) 0.62 (0.49-0.79), P < 0.001) and multivariable models (HR 0.66 (0.51-0.86), P < 0.01). Alendronate was related to reduced mortality risk (HR 0.88 (0.82-0.95) but increased risk of mild upper gastrointestinal symptoms (UGI) (HR 1.58 (1.12-2.24). The alendronate association did not change with age for hip fractures or mild UGI.


In old patients with prior fracture, alendronate treatment reduces the risk of hip fracture with sustained safety, indicating that this treatment should be considered in these high-risk patients.

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