Raloxifene improves bone mass in osteopenic women with primary biliary cirrhosis: results of a pilot study

Liver Int. 2005 Feb;25(1):117-21. doi: 10.1111/j.1478-3231.2005.01026.x.


Background/aims: Bone disease is common in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Our aim was to evaluate safety and efficacy of raloxifene in this population.

Methods: Nine postmenopausal women with PBC were enrolled and seven completed the study. Subjects received raloxifene 60 mg daily for 1 year. Each patient on raloxifene was age-matched to three controls. Liver biochemistries were monitored periodically; bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN) was measured at baseline and at 1 year.

Results: No significant adverse effects were reported. Liver biochemistries remained unchanged. Baseline LS-BMD was similar in the treatment group and controls [median 0.720 g/cm(2) (range 0.620-0.867) vs. 0.740 g/cm(2) (0.570-1.040), P=0.5].

Conclusion: Compared with baseline, LS-BMD improved significantly with 1 year of therapy [0.72 g/cm(2) (0.62-0.87) vs. 0.74 g/cm(2) (0.63-0.97), P=0.02]. FN-BMD remained stable [0.53 g/cm(2) (0.50-0.60) vs. 0.54 g/cm(2) (0.49-0.63), P=0.6]. Improvement in LS BMD was seen in patients on raloxifene but not in matched controls [0.02 g/cm(2) (0.01-0.10) vs. 0.00 g/cm(2) (-0.120-0.040), P=0.06)]. In conclusion, raloxifene appears safe and of benefit in preventing bone loss in patients with PBC. Larger studies with longer follow-up are warranted.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Bone Density* / drug effects
  • Female
  • Femur Neck / drug effects
  • Femur Neck / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / complications
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / drug therapy*
  • Liver Cirrhosis, Biliary / metabolism
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / metabolism
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / etiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / metabolism
  • Pilot Projects
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride / therapeutic use*
  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators / therapeutic use*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Selective Estrogen Receptor Modulators
  • Raloxifene Hydrochloride