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BACKGROUND: The results of experimental studies with animals indicated that prostaglandins stimulate bone resorption, that skeletal production of prostaglandin E2 is enhanced by ovariectomy and is diminished by 17 beta-estradiol, and that the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) naproxyn prevents bone loss after ovariectomy. Studies were carried out to investigate the effects of the NSAID diclofenac sodium on bone and mineral metabolism in premenopausal women and to compare the effects of diclofenac sodium and conjugated estrogens on bone and mineral metabolism in postmenopausal women. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Ten healthy premenopausal women and 17 healthy postmenopausal women were studied while not being treated and again after 4 weeks of treatment with diclofenac sodium, 150 mg per day in divided doses (both groups), and conjugated estrogens, 0.625 mg per day (postmenopausal women). Cross-linked N-telopeptides of type I collagen were measured in the urine as an index of bone resorption. The postmenopausal women were separated into two groups, responders and nonresponders, based on their response to conjugated estrogens as assessed by linear discriminant analysis for groups. Conjugated estrogens lowered urinary N-telopeptides of type I collagen in responders, but not in nonresponders. RESULTS: Urinary cross-linked N-telopeptides were higher in the eight postmenopausal women responders than in the nine postmenopausal nonresponders or in the premenopausal women, and were not altered by diclofenac sodium in premenopausal women. In the eight postmenopausal women with higher rates of bone resorption, diclofenac sodium and conjugated estrogens significantly lowered both urinary calcium concentration and urinary cross-linked N-telopeptides. The effects of the two drugs were comparable. CONCLUSION: The preliminary results demonstrate that, at the dose used, diclofenac sodium is almost as effective as conjugated estrogens for decreasing bone loss in postmenopausal women. Further studies will be needed to determine whether diclofenac sodium can prevent postmenopausal bone loss.

Original publication




Journal article


Am j med

Publication Date





349 - 353


Adult, Bone Density, Bone Resorption, Diclofenac, Estrogens, Female, Humans, Middle Aged, Postmenopause, Premenopause, Reference Values