Risedronate: a review of its pharmacological properties and clinical use in resorptive bone disease

Drugs. 2001;61(5):685-712. doi: 10.2165/00003495-200161050-00013.


Risedronate is a novel orally administered pyridinyl bisphosphonate indicated for the prevention or treatment of postmenopausal and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and Paget's disease. The drug reduces bone turnover and decreases resorption chiefly through osteoclastic effects, with no undesirable effects on cortical porosity or thickness or on cancellous bone volume. Four randomised, double-blind trials have been carried out in 4873 patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. In 2 of these studies, the primary end-point of vertebral fracture incidence was reduced by risedronate 5mg once daily by up to 65 and 49% relative to placebo after 1 and 3 years, respectively. Across all 4 trials, risedronate improved lumbar spine, femoral neck and femoral trochanter bone mineral density (BMD) statistically significantly relative to placebo. The drug also prevented bone loss in a study in 383 women with recent menopause, and reduced the risk of hip fracture in elderly women with confirmed osteoporosis in a trial involving a total of 9331 patients. Risedronate 5 mg/day plus estrogen has been shown to be superior to estrogen alone in a 12-month double-blind study in 524 women with at least 1-year's history of menopause. Two randomised, double-blind and placebo-controlled 12-month studies in a total of 518 patients have shown risedronate 5 mg/day to prevent or reverse bone loss in patients receiving glucocorticoid therapy. Risedronate 30 mg/day was associated with statistically significant reductions in mean serum levels of alkaline phosphatase (ALP) in noncomparative studies in patients with Paget's disease. ALP normalisation rates ranged from 53.8 to 65% across two 84-day treatment cycles in 2 of these trials in 180 patients. In a randomised, double-blind study in 123 patients, risedronate 30 mg/day for 2 months evoked significantly greater serum ALP responses than etidronate 400 mg/day for 6 months. The overall tolerability profile of risedronate was similar to that of placebo in clinical studies, with no evidence of acute-phase reactions or mineralisation defects, or excess incidence of upper GI lesions, in patients receiving the drug.

Conclusions: Risedronate is an effective and well tolerated novel bisphosphonate that is suitable for first-line therapy in Paget's disease. The rapid and sustained reductions in vertebral fracture incidence and BMD changes seen in patients with postmenopausal and glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis indicate the drug to be a valuable treatment option with first-line potential, particularly in patients for whom hormonal therapy is inappropriate. The effects of the drug on hip fracture incidence in elderly women with confirmed osteoporosis point to a particular role in older patients, or those with more advanced disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones* / drug effects
  • Bone and Bones* / metabolism
  • Bone and Bones* / physiology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers* / pharmacokinetics
  • Calcium Channel Blockers* / pharmacology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers* / therapeutic use
  • Etidronic Acid* / analogs & derivatives
  • Etidronic Acid* / pharmacokinetics
  • Etidronic Acid* / pharmacology
  • Etidronic Acid* / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Half-Life
  • Humans
  • Intestinal Absorption
  • Metabolic Clearance Rate
  • Osteitis Deformans / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risedronic Acid


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Risedronic Acid
  • Etidronic Acid