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.