Bone mineral density in patients taking H2-receptor antagonist

Calcif Tissue Int. 1998 Apr;62(4):283-5. doi: 10.1007/s002239900431.


Osteoporosis after gastrectomy is a common clinical disorder. In gastrectomized patients, decreased gastric acidity may be associated with impaired calcium absorption. This study was undertaken to determine whether patients with chronic use of H2-receptor antagonists (HRA) had demonstrable decreases in bone mineral density (BMD). Thirty-three patients taking cimetidine, ranitidine, or famotidine for more than 2 years were analyzed. We measured BMD of L2-L4 using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Osteoporosis (BMD less than 0.70 g/cm2) was found only in three patients (9%). As compared with healthy controls, age- and sex-matched BMD ranged from 74.4% to 132.9%, with a mean of 97.0%, and was not influenced by the period of HRA use (<5 years versus >5 years or more). Although the age- and sex-matched BMD was different among the kinds of HRA (98.6% for cimetidine, 101.3% for ranitidine, and 85.5% for famotidine), the relationship between the BMD and type of drug was not significant by multivariate analysis. These results indicate that chronic use of HRA has little influence on the degree of BMD, and suggest that decreased gastric acidity is not always associated with osteoporosis after gastrectomy.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Density / drug effects*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cimetidine / therapeutic use
  • Duodenal Ulcer / physiopathology
  • Famotidine / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Histamine H2 Antagonists / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy
  • Ranitidine / therapeutic use
  • Stomach Ulcer / physiopathology
  • Time Factors


  • Histamine H2 Antagonists
  • Famotidine
  • Cimetidine
  • Ranitidine