Treatment with alfacalcidol in elderly people significantly decreases the high risk of falls associated with a low creatinine clearance of <65 ml/min

Osteoporos Int. 2005 Feb;16(2):198-203. doi: 10.1007/s00198-004-1671-9. Epub 2004 Jun 17.


We previously observed that a creatinine clearance (CrCl) of <65 ml/min is a significant and independent risk factor for the number of fallers and falls in a community-dwelling elderly population and postulated that this increased risk is due to the associated significant lower D-hormone serum levels. To test our hypothesis, we investigated in a post hoc analysis of a double-blind randomized study whether treatment with alfacalcidol, a synthetic prodrug of the D-hormone, can reduce the high incidence of fallers and the high risk of falls associated with low CrCl. Of 378 Swiss community-dwelling women (n=191) and men (n=187), aged 70 years and older, 191 received randomly 1 microg capsules of alfacalcidol (AlphaD3: Teva), and 187 received one capsule of placebo daily. With the help of questionnaires we regularly assessed the incidence and frequency of falls. The risk of becoming a faller and the risk of falling were assessed in multivariate-controlled logistic regression models according to treatment groups and according to a CrCl cut-off of 65 ml/min. The presented results are from ITT analyses. In participants with a CrCl of <65 ml/min, the 36 weeks of treatment with alfacalcidol was, compared with placebo, associated with a significant reduction in the number of fallers (14/72 versus 25/70; OR 0.26, 95% CI 0.08-0.80, P=0.019), and a significant reduction of the number of falls (16/72 versus 28/70; OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.09-0.88, P=0.028). No such association was observed in participants with a CrCl of >or=65 ml/min (for fallers 26/120 versus 21/116; OR 0.92 95% CI 0.34-2.52, P=0.875; for falls 32/120 versus 23/116; OR 0.93 95% CI 0.34-2.54, P=0.885). In the placebo group frequency of falls was dependent on CrCl (P=0.006), whereas in the alfacalcidol treatment group frequency of falls was independent of CrCl (P=0.494). No cases of clinically relevant hypercalcemia were observed. In a community-dwelling population of elderly men and women with a CrCl of <65 ml/min, treatment with alfacalcidol can significantly and safely reduce the low CrCl associated increased number of fallers and the high risk of falls.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Body Mass Index
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Creatinine / metabolism*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / adverse effects
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / blood
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Prodrugs / administration & dosage*
  • Prodrugs / adverse effects
  • Risk Factors


  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Hydroxycholecalciferols
  • Prodrugs
  • Creatinine
  • Calcium
  • alfacalcidol