Alendronate improves bone mineral density in elderly women with osteoporosis residing in long-term care facilities. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial

Ann Intern Med. 2002 May 21;136(10):742-6. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-136-10-200205210-00009.


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.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alendronate / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Calcium / therapeutic use
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Long-Term Care*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / metabolism
  • Residential Facilities*
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use


  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium
  • Alendronate