High incidence rate of vertebral fractures during chronic prednisone treatment, in spite of bisphosphonate or alfacalcidol use. Extension of the Alendronate or alfacalcidol in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis-trial

J. N. Hoes*, J. W. G. Jacobs, H. M. J. Hulsmans, R. N. J. T. L. de Nijs, Willem F. Lems, G. A. W. Bruyn, P. P. M. M. Geusens, Johannes W J Bijlsma

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


ObjectiveIn the 18 month "alendronate or alfacalcidol in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis"-trial (STOP-trial) patients with rheumatic diseases who started glucocorticoids were randomised to anti-osteoporosis therapy with either daily alendronate (10 mg) or alfacalcidol (1 mu g). In the present observational open follow-up study of the STOP-trial, we report the long-term effects of risk factors on the incidence and pattern of vertebral fractures, assessed using the Genant method.ResultsOf the 201 included patients in the STOP-trial, 163 completed the trial and of those 116 underwent a follow-up radiography of the spine. Twenty-eight patients had developed one or more new vertebral fractures since the end of the STOP-trial. The majority of fractures was wedge shaped and the deformities were intermediate to severe in both the former alendronate and alfacalcidol group. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that STOP-trial medication and presence of pre-existing fractures did not predict development of new fractures, whereas age and cumulative glucocorticoid-dose did.ConclusionDuring the follow-up 2.7 years after the STOP-trial both in the former alendronate and alfacalcidol group 24% of the patients underwent at least one new vertebral fracture. This underlines that prevention of vertebral fractures remains a clinical challenge, even when anti-osteoporosis drugs are prescribed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-359
JournalClinical and Experimental Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis
  • bisphosphonate
  • vitamin D
  • alendronate
  • alfacalcidol
  • rheumatic disease
  • vertebral fracture
  • STOP-trial

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