This is a review of the pharmacology of strontium ranelate (Protelos, Protos, Protaxos, Bivalos, Osseor), and its efficacy and tolerability in the treatment of patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis. Strontium ranelate is a divalent strontium salt of ranelic acid that is capable of increasing bone formation and reducing bone resorption, thereby uncoupling and rebalancing bone turnover in favour of bone formation. The drug is effective in reducing the risk of fractures, including both vertebral and nonvertebral fractures, in patients with postmenopausal osteoporosis, according to data from two large, double-blind, placebo-controlled, multicentre trials of 5 years' duration, and reduced the risk of hip fracture in high-risk patients in a post hoc analysis of one trial. Moreover, data from patients who continued to receive the drug during the 3-year extension phases of these trials indicate that strontium ranelate continues to provide protection against new vertebral fractures and nonvertebral fractures for up to 8 years of therapy. It also improves bone mineral density at numerous sites and both increases markers of bone formation and decreases markers of bone resorption. Strontium ranelate is administered orally as a suspension and is generally well tolerated. The nature of adverse events was generally similar regardless of treatment duration in clinical trials, with the most commonly reported being nausea and diarrhoea over 5 years of treatment, and memory loss and diarrhoea during longer-term treatment. Although an increased risk of venous thromboembolism was associated with strontium ranelate relative to placebo over 5 years of treatment in a pooled analysis of clinical trials, postmarketing data have not confirmed this finding. Overall, the clinical data available suggest that strontium ranelate is an effective and generally well tolerated option for the first-line treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis.