Background: Many elderly female residents of long-term care facilities have osteoporosis and could benefit from intervention to increase bone density.
Objective: To examine the efficacy and safety of alendronate for treatment of osteoporosis in elderly female residents of long-term care facilities.
Design: Multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled 2-year study.
Setting: 25 long-term care facilities.
Patients: 327 elderly women with osteoporosis.
Intervention: Patients were randomly assigned to receive alendronate, 10 mg/d, or placebo. All patients also received vitamin D, 400 IU/d, and some patients received supplemental calcium (total intake, approximately 1500 mg/d).
Measurements: Bone mineral density (BMD) of the spine and hip and biochemical markers of bone turnover.
Results: Alendronate produced significantly greater increases in BMD than did placebo (24-month differences: spine, 4.4% [95% CI, 3.3% to 5.5%]; femoral neck, 3.4% [CI, 2.3% to 4.4%]). Alendronate produced greater decreases from baseline in biochemical markers of bone turnover than did placebo (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Alendronate increased BMD at both the spine and hip in elderly female residents of long-term care facilities.