Prevention of falls and fractures in old people by administration of calcium and vitamin D, randomized clinical trial

BMC Public Health. 2011 Dec 9;11:910. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-910.


Background: There are many studies that associate vitamin D serum levels in older persons with muscle strength, physical performance and risk of fractures and falls. However, current evidence is insufficient to make a general recommendation for administrating calcium and vitamin D to older persons. The objective of this study is to determine the effectiveness of calcium and vitamin D supplementation in improving musculoskeletal function and decreasing the number of falls in person aged over 65 years.

Methods/design: Phase III, randomized, double blind, placebo-controlled trial to evaluate the efficacy of already marketed drugs in a new indication. It will be performed at Primary Care doctor visits at several Healthcare Centers in different Spanish Health Areas. A total of 704 non-institutionalized subjects aged 65 years or older will be studied (sample size calculated for a statistical power of 80%, alpha error 0.05, annual incidence of falls 30% and expected reduction of 30% to 20% and expected loss to follow up of 20%). The test drug containing 800 IU of vitamin D and 1000 mg of calcium will be administered daily. The control group will receive a placebo. The subjects will be followed up over two years. The primary variable will be the incidence of spontaneous falls. The secondary variables will include: consequences of the falls (fractures, need for hospitalization), change in calcidiol plasma levels and other analytical determinations (transaminases, PTH, calcium/phosphorous, albumin, creatinine, etc.), change in bone mass by densitometry, change in muscle strength in the dominant hand and change in musculoskeletal strength, risk factors for falls, treatment compliance, adverse effects and socio-demographic data.

Discussion: The following principles have been considered in the development of this Project: the product data are sufficient to ensure that the risks assumed by the study participants are acceptable, the study objectives will probably provide further knowledge on the problem studied and the available information justifies the performance of the study and its possible risk for the participants.If calcium and vitamin D supplementation is effective in the prevention of falls and fractures in the elderly population, a recommendation may be issued with the aim of preventing some of the consequences of falls that affect quality of life and the ensuing personal, health and social costs.

Trial registration: NCT01452243

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls / prevention & control*
  • Aged
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / adverse effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / blood
  • Calcium / administration & dosage*
  • Calcium / adverse effects
  • Calcium / blood
  • Dietary Supplements*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Muscle Strength / physiology
  • Office Visits / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Compliance
  • Primary Health Care / methods*
  • Quality of Life
  • Recovery of Function
  • Risk
  • Spain
  • Survival Analysis
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage*
  • Vitamin D / adverse effects
  • Vitamin D / blood
  • Vitamin D Deficiency / prevention & control


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium

Associated data