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Zoledronic acid does not slow spinal radiographic progression of osteoarthritis in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and radiographic osteoarthritis

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posted on 2023-05-21, 14:35 authored by Host, LV, Keen, HI, Laura LaslettLaura Laslett, Black, DM, Graeme JonesGraeme Jones

Introduction: Post hoc analyses of osteoporosis trials have suggested that alendronate and strontium ranelate may be associated with a reduction in the progression of spinal radiographic osteoarthritis (OA). We performed an analysis on a subgroup of participants in the horizon PFT trial (a 3-year randomized controlled trial (RCT) of yearly zoledronic acid (ZA) in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis), to evaluate the effect of ZA on the structural progression of spinal osteophytes (OPh) and disk space narrowing (DN).

Methods: Paired lateral spinal X-rays (baseline and 36 months) were selected from the horizon PFT trial records restricted to those with radiographic OA at baseline. The X-rays were analyzed by two readers blinded to the treatment allocation. OPh and DN were scored separately using the Lane atlas (0-3 for increasing severity at each vertebral level) at all evaluable levels from T4-12 and L1-5.

Results: A total of 504 sets of paired radiographs were included in the analysis, 245 in the ZA group and 259 in the placebo group. Overall, the rates of change of OPh and DN scores were low, and they were not statistically different between the groups (change in the whole spine OPh ZA 1.0 ± 1.6, placebo 0.8 ± 1.3, p = 0.1; DN ZA 0.3 ± 1.0, placebo 0.3 ± 0.8, p = 0.7).

Conclusion: Yearly ZA for 3 years was not associated with a slowing of progression of OPh or DN in the thoracolumbar spine in patients with pre-existing radiographic OA.


Publication title

Therapeutic Advances in Musculoskeletal Disease



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Menzies Institute for Medical Research



Place of publication

United Kingdom

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© The Author(s) 2022. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License ( This license allows re-users to distribute, remix, adapt, and build upon the material in any medium or format, so long as attribution is given to the creator. The license allows for commercial use.

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Treatment of human diseases and conditions

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