Effect of Abaloparatide vs Placebo on New Vertebral Fractures in Postmenopausal Women With Osteoporosis: A Randomized Clinical Trial

JAMA. 2016 Aug 16;316(7):722-33. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.11136.


Importance: Additional therapies are needed for prevention of osteoporotic fractures. Abaloparatide is a selective activator of the parathyroid hormone type 1 receptor.

Objective: To determine the efficacy and safety of abaloparatide, 80 μg, vs placebo for prevention of new vertebral fracture in postmenopausal women at risk of osteoporotic fracture.

Design, setting, and participants: The Abaloparatide Comparator Trial In Vertebral Endpoints (ACTIVE) was a phase 3, double-blind, RCT (March 2011-October 2014) at 28 sites in 10 countries. Postmenopausal women with bone mineral density (BMD) T score ≤-2.5 and >-5.0 at the lumbar spine or femoral neck and radiological evidence ≥2 mild or ≥1 moderate lumbar or thoracic vertebral fracture or history of low-trauma nonvertebral fracture within the past 5 years were eligible. Postmenopausal women (>65 y) with fracture criteria and a T score ≤-2.0 and >-5.0 or without fracture criteria and a T score ≤-3.0 and >-5.0 could enroll.

Interventions: Blinded, daily subcutaneous injections of placebo (n = 821); abaloparatide, 80 μg (n = 824); or open-label teriparatide, 20 μg (n = 818) for 18 months.

Main outcomes and measures: Primary end point was percentage of participants with new vertebral fracture in the abaloparatide vs placebo groups. Sample size was set to detect a 4% difference (57% risk reduction) between treatment groups. Secondary end points included change in BMD at total hip, femoral neck, and lumbar spine in abaloparatide-treated vs placebo participants and time to first incident nonvertebral fracture. Hypercalcemia was a prespecified safety end point in abaloparatide-treated vs teriparatide participants.

Results: Among 2463 women (mean age, 69 years [range, 49-86]), 1901 completed the study. New morphometric vertebral fractures occurred less frequently in the active treatment groups vs placebo. The Kaplan-Meier estimated event rate for nonvertebral fracture was lower with abaloparatide vs placebo. BMD increases were greater with abaloparatide than placebo (all P < .001). Incidence of hypercalcemia was lower with abaloparatide (3.4%) vs teriparatide (6.4%) (risk difference [RD], −2.96 [95%CI, −5.12 to −0.87]; P = .006). [table: see text].

Conclusions and relevance: Among postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, the use of subcutaneous abaloparatide, compared with placebo, reduced the risk of new vertebral and nonvertebral fractures over 18 months. Further research is needed to understand the clinical importance of RD, the risks and benefits of abaloparatide treatment, and the efficacy of abaloparatide vs other osteoporosis treatments.

Trial registration: clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT01343004.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / adverse effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Femur Neck / diagnostic imaging
  • Femur Neck / physiology
  • Humans
  • Hypercalcemia / chemically induced
  • Injections, Subcutaneous
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / injuries*
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / physiopathology
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal*
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / adverse effects
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein / therapeutic use*
  • Pelvic Bones / drug effects
  • Pelvic Bones / physiology
  • Placebos / therapeutic use
  • Postmenopause
  • Radiography
  • Spinal Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Teriparatide / adverse effects
  • Teriparatide / therapeutic use
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / injuries*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Parathyroid Hormone-Related Protein
  • Placebos
  • Teriparatide
  • abaloparatide

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT01343004