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Insights into the bisphosphonate holiday: a preliminary FTIRI study.

Osteoporos Int. 2018 03;29(3):699-705 Authors: Boskey AL, Spevak L, Ma Y, Wang H, Bauer DC, Black DM, Schwartz AV

INTRODUCTION: Bisphosphonates (BP) are the most commonly used and effective drugs to prevent fragility fractures; however, concerns exist that prolonged use may lead to adverse events. Recent recommendations suggest consideration of a BP "holiday" in individuals taking long-term BP therapy not at high risk of fracture. Data supporting or refuting this recommendation based on bone quality are limited. We hypothesized that a "holiday" of 5 years would cause no major bone compositional changes. METHODS: We analyzed the 31 available biopsies from the FLEX-Long-term Extension of FIT (Fracture Intervention Trial) using Fourier transform infrared imaging (FTIRI). Biopsies from two groups of post-menopausal women, a "Continuously treated group" (N = 16) receiving alendronate for ~ 10 years and a "Discontinued group" (N = 15), alendronate treated for 5 years taking no antiresorptive medication during the following 5 years. Iliac crest bone biopsies were provided at 10 years. RESULTS: Key FTIRI parameters, mineral-to-matrix ratio, carbonate-to-phosphate ratio, acid phosphate substitution, and collagen cross-link ratio as well as heterogeneity of these parameters were similar for Continuously treated and Discontinued groups in age-adjusted models. The Discontinued group had 2% greater cortical crystallinity (p = 0.01), 31% greater cortical acid phosphate heterogeneity (p = 0.02), and 24% lower trabecular crystallinity heterogeneity (p = 0.02). CONCLUSIONS: Discontinuation of alendronate for 5 years did not affect key FTIRI parameters, supporting the hypothesis that discontinuation would have little impact on bone composition. Modest differences were observed in three parameters that are not likely to affect bone mechanical properties. These preliminary data suggest that a 5-year BP holiday is not harmful to bone composition. PMID: 29204959 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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