The use of alendronate in the treatment of avascular necrosis of the femoral head: follow-up to eight years

J Bone Joint Surg Br. 2009 Aug;91(8):1013-8. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.91B8.21518.


The use of bisphosphonates in the treatment of avascular necrosis of the femoral head is an encouraging but relatively new option with most published data being derived from small trials with limited follow-up. We present a clinicoradiological analysis of 395 hips with avascular necrosis which were treated with oral alendronate for three years with a mean follow-up of four years (1 to 8). Our results show an improvement in the clinical function, a reduction in the rate of collapse and a decrease in the requirement for total hip replacement, compared with the findings of other studies in which no treatment was given. This improvement is particularly marked if the treatment is begun in the pre-collapse stages of the disease. Even in Ficat stage-III hips some benefit was obtained from treatment with alendronate by at least a delay in the need for total hip replacement.

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Adult
  • Alendronate / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Femoral Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Femur Head Necrosis / drug therapy*
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Young Adult


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Alendronate