Vertebral fractures are a major adverse consequence of osteoporosis. In a large placebo-controlled trial in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, strontium ranelate reduced vertebral fracture risk by 33% over 4 years, confirming the role of strontium ranelate as an effective long-term treatment in osteoporosis.
Osteoporotic vertebral fractures are associated with increased mortality, morbidity, and loss of quality-of-life (QoL). Strontium ranelate (2 g/day) was shown to prevent bone loss, increase bone strength, and reduce vertebral and peripheral fractures. The preplanned aim of this study was to evaluate long-term efficacy and safety of strontium ranelate.
A total of 1,649 postmenopausal osteoporotic women were randomized to strontium ranelate or placebo for 4 years, followed by a 1-year treatment-switch period for half of the patients. Primary efficacy criterion was incidence of patients with new vertebral fractures over 4 years. Lumbar bone mineral density (BMD) and QoL were also evaluated.
Over 4 years, risk of vertebral fracture was reduced by 33% with strontium ranelate (risk reduction = 0.67, p < 0.001). Among patients with two or more prevalent vertebral fractures, risk reduction was 36% (p < 0.001). QoL, assessed by the QUALIOST(R), was significantly better (p = 0.025), and patients without back pain were greater (p = 0.005) with strontium ranelate than placebo over 4 years. Lumbar BMD increased over 5 years in patients who continued with strontium ranelate, while it decreased in patients who switched to placebo. Emergent adverse events were similar between groups.
In this 4- and 5-year study, strontium ranelate is an effective and safe treatment for long-term treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women.