Forty postmenopausal women with bone mineral density (BMD) > 2 standard deviations below the mean value for healthy age matched controls were enrolled into an open controlled study to evaluate the metabolic and bone effects of ipriflavone (IP) versus salmon calcitonin (sCT) over a 12 month period. Both treatments significantly increased BMD after 6 and 12 months. A 4.3% increase of BMD was obtained in the IP treated group and a 1.9% in the sCT treated group after 12 months (p < 0.001 between treatments). Bone metabolism markers (serum osteocalcin, alkaline phosphatase, urinary calcium and hydroxyproline/creatinine ratio) were significantly reduced in both groups (p < 0.001). The reduction of urinary hydroxyproline/creatinine ratio was significantly greater (p < 0.05) in the IP group after 12 months. Both treatments were well tolerated. Four patients in the IP group reported gastralgia while two patients in the sCT group reported pruritus and one patient epistaxis.