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Prevention of Glucocorticoid-Induced Osteoporosis in Immunobullous Diseases With Alendronate: A Randomized, Double-blind, Placebo-Controlled Study.

Author(s): Tee SI, Yosipovitch G, Chan YC, Chua SH, Koh ET, Chan YH, Tan SS, Tsou IY, Tan SH

Affiliation(s): Chua, and S. H. Tan), Dermatology Associates (Dr Y. C. Chan), Tan Tock Seng Hospital (Drs Koh and S. S. S. Tan), National University of Singapore (Dr Y. H. Chan), and Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Dr Tsou), Singapore; and Department of Dermatology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, North Carolina (Dr Yosipovitch).

Publication date & source: 2011-11-21, Arch Dermatol., [Epub ahead of print]

OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and safety of oral alendronate sodium therapy once daily in preventing glucocorticoid-induced bone loss in patients with immunobullous skin diseases treated with long-term glucocorticoid therapy. DESIGN: A 12-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. SETTING: A tertiary referral dermatology center in Singapore. PARTICIPANTS: Patients newly diagnosed as having an immunobullous disease and deemed to require at least 6 months of systemic glucocorticoid therapy. Interventions The patients were randomized to receive either oral alendronate sodium (10 mg/d) or a matching placebo for 12 months. All patients also received concurrent calcium with vitamin D, 2 tablets daily. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Percent change in bone mineral density (BMD) at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck at 12 months. RESULTS: A total of 29 patients (alendronate [n = 15], placebo [n = 14]) were evaluated. The percent change in BMD in the alendronate group was +3.7% and +3.5% at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck, respectively, whereas in the placebo group, it was -1.4% and -0.7% at the lumbar spine and the femoral neck, respectively. The increase in BMD observed in the alendronate group compared with the placebo group was statistically significant at both the lumbar spine (P = .01) and the femoral neck (P = .01). There was also a statistically significant decrease in serum heat-labile alkaline phosphatase levels after 12 months (-32.6%, P < .01) in the alendronate group but not in the placebo group. Adverse events were generally minor, and the frequency of occurrence did not differ significantly between both treatment groups (P = .59). CONCLUSIONS: There were statistically significant increases in BMD at both the lumbar spine (P = .01) and the femoral neck (P = .01) with alendronate therapy. It is imperative to use bisphophonate therapy in patients with immunobullous disorders who are receiving oral corticosteroids because it largely prevents the morbidity associated with low BMD.

Page last updated: 2011-12-09

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