Researchers Look at Teriparatide’s Effect on Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis

What Effect Does this Medication Have on Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Risk?

holding a syringe vial with a blue gloveIn a study published in the February 2012 edition of the International Journal of Clinical Practice, Chinese researchers set out to investigate the effectiveness of teriparatide supplementation in boosting bone mineral density (BMD) and in decreasing fracture risk in postmenopausal women who have osteoporosis. They also looked at whether the effects of teriparatide varied with a range of factors.

Their results appeared in the article “Effect of teriparatide on bone mineral density and fracture in postmenopausal osteoporosis: meta-analysis of randomised controlled trials.”

Using electronic databases, the researchers pinpointed 8 randomized controlled trials (n=2,388) to use in their study. They also did a hand-search of the trials’ reference lists.

The goal of all the trials included in the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of a daily subcutaneous injection of teriparatide in postmenopausal women who had osteoporosis.

It was noted that the main outcomes were both fracture risk and percentage change of BMD from the baseline.

The research team pooled the data using a random-effects model.

They observed that for the trials that reported BMD as an outcome, treatment was linked to an increase in bone mass of 8.14% in the spine (95% confidence interval [CI]: 6.72% to 9.55%; 8 trials, n=2,206) and an increase in bone mass of 2.48% in the hip (95% CI: 1.67% to 3.29%; 7 trials, n=1,303).

Additionally, treatment was associated with a 70% decrease in risk of vertebral fractures (risk ratio: 0.30; 95% CI: 0.21 to 0.44; 3 trials, n=1,452) and a 38% decrease in risk of non-vertebral fractures (risk ratio: 0.62; 95% CI: 0.44 to 0.87; 3 trials, n=1,842) in the trials that reported fracture as an outcome.

Researchers found that when taken with more than 1,500 mg of calcium, the parathyroid hormone treatment was linked to a significant increase in BMD gains in the total hip (1.40% vs 3.72%; p=0.004). But they also found that long-term duration did not appear to contribute to the differences in how patients responded to teriparatide.

The research team concluded that there is evidence that supports the use of teriparatide in treating postmenopausal women who have osteoporosis and who are also at risk of a fracture. They suggest that additional research that directly compares concurrent therapy and calcium supplementation with long-term duration is merited.

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