Meta-analyses of therapies for postmenopausal osteoporosis. IX: Summary of meta-analyses of therapies for postmenopausal osteoporosis

Endocr Rev. 2002 Aug;23(4):570-8. doi: 10.1210/er.2001-9002.


This section summarizes the results of the seven systematic reviews of osteoporosis therapies published in this series [calcium, vitamin D, hormone replacement therapy (HRT), alendronate, risedronate, raloxifene, and calcitonin] and systematic reviews of etidronate and fluoride we have published elsewhere. We highlight the methodological strengths and weaknesses of the individual studies, and summarize the effects of treatments on the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures and on bone density, including effects in different patient subgroups. We provide an estimate of the expected impact of antiosteoporosis interventions in prevention and treatment populations using the number needed to treat (NNT) as a reference. In addition to the evidence, judgements about the relative weight that one places on weaker and stronger evidence, attitudes toward uncertainty, circumstances of patients' and societal values or preferences will, and should, play an important role in decision-making regarding anti-osteoporosis therapy.

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control
  • Humans
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Spinal Fractures / prevention & control