Comparison of change in bone resorption and bone mineral density with once-weekly alendronate and daily risedronate: a randomised, placebo-controlled study

Curr Med Res Opin. 2003;19(5):383-94. doi: 10.1185/030079903125002009.


Objective: To compare the effects of alendronate (ALN) 70 mg once weekly (OW) and risedronate (RIS) 5 mg daily between-meal dosing on biochemical markers of bone turnover and bone mineral density (BMD) in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

Research design and methods: This was a 3-month, randomised, double-blind, placebo-controlled study with a double-blind extension to 12 months. The study enrolled 549 postmenopausal women (ALN 219, RIS 222 and placebo (PBO) 108) who were > or =60 years of age at outpatient centres.

Main outcome measures: The primary endpoint was reduction in urine N-telopeptides of type 1 collagen (NTx) corrected for creatinine level at 3 months. Secondary parameters included change in BMD at the spine and hip at 6 and 12 months, NTx at 1, 6 and 12 months, and serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase (BSAP) at 1, 3, 6 and 12 months. Adverse experiences (AEs) were recorded throughout the study for an assessment of treatment safety profiles and tolerability.

Results: Over 3 months, ALN produced a significantly greater mean reduction in urine NTx than did RIS (-52% vs -32%, p < 0.001), which was maintained at 12 months. ALN produced a significantly greater mean BMD increase than did RIS at 6 months, and it was maintained at 12 months at the lumbar spine (4.8% vs 2.8%, p < 0.001) and total hip (2.7% vs 0.9%, p < 0.001), as well as at the trochanter and femoral neck. Significant reductions in BSAP with ALN compared to RIS were maintained over the 12 months of treatment. Study size did not allow for meaningful assessment of differences in fracture rates. Tolerability was generally similar between ALN, RIS and PBO, and the incidence of upper GI AEs causing discontinuation and oesophageal AEs was similar in the ALN and RIS groups.

Conclusion: In this study, ALN 70 mg OW produced a 50% greater reduction in bone resorption as measured by urine NTx and significantly greater increases in lumbar spine and hip BMD than did RIS 5 mg daily. The treatments had similar safety profiles and were generally well-tolerated. Additional studies are needed comparing OW ALN with OW RIS, which became available after the commencement of the present study.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alendronate / adverse effects
  • Alendronate / pharmacology
  • Alendronate / therapeutic use*
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Resorption / prevention & control
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / adverse effects
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Etidronic Acid / adverse effects
  • Etidronic Acid / analogs & derivatives*
  • Etidronic Acid / pharmacology
  • Etidronic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Risedronic Acid


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Risedronic Acid
  • Etidronic Acid
  • Alendronate