Prophylaxis of osteoporosis with calcium, estrogens and/or eelcatonin: comparative longitudinal study of bone mass

Maturitas. 1996 Apr;23(3):327-32. doi: 10.1016/0378-5122(96)00999-1.


Objective: To evaluate three different therapeutic regimens for the prevention of osteoporosis in natural and surgical postmenopausal women who had been found to have rapid bone loss in analytical studies.

Methods: A total of 104 naturally or surgically postmenopausal women were studied, and subsequently followed-up during 1 year for avoidance of the influence of seasonal variation on bone mass, a factor overlooked in several studies. They were randomized into four groups of 26 patients each: the untreated control group (mean age 50 +/- 5 years); the hormonal replacement treatment (HRT) group (mean age 48 +/- 6 years), which was treated for 24 days each month with transdermal 17 beta-estradiol, 50 mg/day, together with medroxiprogesterone, 10 mg during 12 days; the calcium group (mean age 50 +/- 4 years), which was treated with elemental calcium, 1 g/day; and the calcitonin group (mean age 50 +/- 5 years), which was treated for 10 days each month with eel calcitonin, 40 IU/day and with elemental calcium, 500 mg/day. Full-body bone densitometry, for measuring total body bone mineral content (TBBMC), was carried out in all the women at baseline and 1 year. TBBMC was corrected for body weight by dividing its value by body weight (TBBMC/W).

Results: After 1 year TBBMC/W was lower in every group: -2.14% (P < 0.001) in the control group; -0.14% (P = NS) in the HRT group (P < 0.05 vs. controls); -0.18% (P = NS) in the calcium group (P < 0.05 vs. controls); and -0.06% (P = NS) in the calcitonin group (P < 0.01 vs. controls; P < 0.05 vs. calcium and HRT).

Conclusions: These findings show that all three treatments are effective in the prevention of postmenopausal loss of bone mass.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Bone Density*
  • Calcitonin / therapeutic use*
  • Calcium / therapeutic use*
  • Estradiol / therapeutic use
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate / therapeutic use
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / prevention & control*


  • Estradiol
  • Calcitonin
  • Medroxyprogesterone Acetate
  • Calcium