Effect of sodium fluoride on the prevention of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis

Osteoporos Int. 1997;7(6):575-82. doi: 10.1007/BF02652565.


To investigate whether sodium fluoride (NaF) is able to prevent bone loss in patients treated with corticosteroids (Cs), we performed a randomized double-masked, placebo-controlled trial with 44 Cs-treated patients without established osteoporosis, defined as the absence of previous peripheral fractures and vertebral deformities on radiographs. The effects of NaF (25 mg twice daily) and placebo on the bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine and hips were compared at baseline and at 6, 12, 18 and 24 months. After 2 years, the BMD of the lumbar spine had decreased in the placebo group by 3.0% (95% CI: -4.9% to -1.0%; p < 0.01); in the NaF group there was a statistically insignificant increase in BMD of 2.2% (95% CI: -0.8% to +5.3%). The difference in the changes in BMD between the two groups was +5.2% (95% CI: +1.8% to +8.6%; p < 0.01). In the hips, BMD had decreased after 2 years in both groups: in the placebo group by -3.0% (95% CI: -5.0% to -1.0%; p < 0.05) and in the NaF group by 3.8% (95% CI: -6.1% to -1.5%; p < 0.01). The difference in the changes in BMD between the two groups was not significant: +0.8% (95% CI: -2.1% to +3.8%). Three vertebral deformities were observed in the placebo group and one in the NaF group (insignificant difference), while no peripheral fractures occurred during the study period. It is concluded that in Cs-treated patients without established osteoporosis NaF prevents bone loss in the lumbar spine but does not have a positive effect on the BMD of the hips.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Hip Joint
  • Humans
  • Lumbar Vertebrae
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / chemically induced*
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control
  • Sodium Fluoride / therapeutic use*
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Sodium Fluoride