Effects of simvastatin on bone mineral density and remodeling parameters in postmenopausal osteopenic subjects: 1-year follow-up study.Clin Rheumatol. 2005 Sep; 24(5):447-52.CR
Observational studies suggest that statin use may be associated with lower incidence of fracture. However, there are conflicting data for their effects on bone remodeling parameters and bone mineral density (BMD). In the present study, we aimed to investigate the effects of simvastatin on bone metabolism and BMD in subjects with hypercholesterolemia (>240 mg/dl). For this purpose, 32 postmenopausal osteopenic subjects who were given simvastatin treatment (20 mg/day) and not on osteoporosis treatment were included in the study. During the 1-year follow-up period, the total cholesterol level decreased from 262.1+/-30.9 to 202.2+/-30.1 mg/dl (p<0.0001). At a period as early as the 3rd month, levels of the anabolic markers, e.g., bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP) and osteocalcin (OCL), were found to be significantly increased (from 120.8+/-56.6 to 149.5+/-57.6 IU/l, p=0.008, and from 20.8+/-12.6 to 34.7+/-18.4 microg/l, p=0.015, respectively) while no significant change was observed in the resorptive marker of serum N-telopeptide of type I collagen (CTX). At the 6th and 12th month, BSAP and OCL were both found to be decreased below the pretreatment values. While a significant reduction was found in BSAP levels (from 120.8+/-56.6 to 55.9+/-18.8 IU/l, p<0.001), no significant change was observed in CTX levels after the 6-month treatment period. Parathyroid hormone showed a gradual profound increase during the follow-up period (from 62.7+/-41.5 to 108.4+/-51.7 pg/ml, p<0.001). No significant change was found in BMD levels at the spine, femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and trochanter at the end of the 1-year follow-up period. In conclusion, simvastatin treatment showed a short-lasting anabolic effect on bone metabolism. However, this effect was lost by prolongation of therapy. The decrease in both anabolic and resorptive markers at the 6th and 12th month suggests that simvastatin affects bone metabolism mostly in favor of inhibition of the bone turnover in a long-term observation period although this inhibitory effect was not reflected in BMD.