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Objectives: Emerging evidence has indicated a role for pharmacologic agents in the primary prevention of osteoporotic fracture, but have not yet been systematically reviewed for meta-analysis. We conducted a meta-analysis to evaluate the efficacy of pharmacologic interventions in reducing fracture risk and increasing bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women with osteopenia or osteoporosis but without prevalent fragility fracture. Method: The Medline, EMBASE, and CENTRAL databases were searched from inception to September 30, 2019. Only randomized placebo-controlled trials evaluating postmenopausal women with -1.0 > bone mineral density (BMD) T-score > -2.5 (low bone mass) and those with BMD T-score ≤ -2.5 (osteoporosis) but without baseline fractures, who were receiving anti-osteoporotic agents, providing quantitative outcomes data and evaluating risk of vertebral and/or non-vertebral fragility fracture at follow-up. The PRISMA guidelines were followed, applying a random-effects model. The primary endpoint was the effect of anti-osteoporotic regimens in reducing the incidence of vertebral fractures. Secondary endpoints were percentage changes in baseline BMD at the lumbar spine and total hip at 1 and 2 years follow up. Results: Full-text review of 144 articles yielded, 20 for meta-analysis. Bisphosphonates reduced the risk of vertebral fracture (pooled OR = 0.50, 95%CIs = 0.36-0.71) and significantly increased lumbar spine BMD after 1 year, by 4.42% vs placebo (95%CIs = 3.70%-5.14%). At the hip, this value was 2.94% (95%CIs = 2.13%-3.75%). Overall results of limited studies for non-bisphosphonate drugs showed increased BMD and raloxifene significantly decreases the risk of subsequent clinical vertebral fractures. Conclusion: The bisphosphonates are efficacious and most evident for the primary prevention of osteoporotic vertebral fractures, reducing their incidence and improving BMD in postmenopausal women with osteopenia or osteoporosis.

Original publication




Journal article


Bone rep

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Fracture, Low bone mass, Osteopenia, Osteoporosis, Primary prevention