We used bone turnover markers to identify women who responded to bisphosphonate treatment for osteoporosis. Response was more likely with alendronate and ibandronate than risedronate. There was a greater decrease in bone markers if baseline bone turnover markers were higher and if the patient took more than 80 % of her medication.
Introduction: Biochemical response to bisphosphonate therapy can be assessed using either a decrease in bone turnover marker beyond the least significant change (LSC) or a reduction to within a reference interval (RI). We compared the performance of these target responses and determined whether response was related to the type of bisphosphonate, compliance and baseline bone turnover markers.
Methods: Biochemical responses to three oral bisphosphonates were assessed in an open, controlled trial comprising 172 postmenopausal osteoporotic women (age 53-84 years), randomised to alendronate, ibandronate or risedronate, plus calcium and vitamin D supplementation for 2 years. The LSC for each marker was derived within the study population, whereas RIs were obtained from a control group of healthy premenopausal women (age 35-40 years).
Results: Over 70 % of women achieved a target response for serum CTX and PINP, irrespective of the approach used. The percentage decrease at 12 weeks was greater for women with baseline PINP above the RI -63 % (difference 13 %, 95 % CI 0 to 27.1, P = 0.049) and good compliance -67 % (difference 15.9 %, 95 % CI 6.3 to 25.5, P = 0.001). Responders had a greater increase in spine bone density compared to nonresponders; for example 6.2 vs. 2.3 % (difference 3.9 %, 95 % CI 1.6 to 6.3, P = 0.0011) for PINP LSC. The magnitude of change in bone markers was greater with ibandronate and alendronate than risedronate.
Conclusions: Both approaches to response identified similar proportions of women as responders. Nonresponders had smaller increases in BMD, and we suggest that biochemical assessment of response is a useful tool for the management of women with postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Keywords: Bisphosphonate; Bone turnover markers; Postmenopausal osteoporosis; Variability.