Background: Osteopenia and osteoporosis are frequent complications after kidney transplantation. Data for the treatment of low bone mass after kidney transplantation are not available.
Methods: To test the efficacy of antiresorptive treatment, 46 patients with osteopenia or osteoporosis after kidney transplantation (bone mineral density < or =1.5 SD below normal) were randomly assigned to three groups cyclically treated as follows: group 1 with daily oral clodronate (800 mg) and group 2 with daily intranasal calcitonin (200 IU) for 2 weeks every 3 months. These two groups were compared with a control group (group 3). Every patient was supplemented with 500 mg of calcium per day. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured by dual energy x-ray absorptiometry (DEXA) at the lumbar spine and femoral neck before and after the 12-month treatment period.
Results: BMD at the lumbar spine was increased by 4.6% in the clodronate group (n=15, P=0.005), by 3.2% in the calcitonin group (n=16, P=0.034), and by 1.8% in the control group (n=15, P=0.265). However, the differences in BMD changes among the groups were not statistically significant. During therapy, serum calcium decreased slightly in all groups by 4.6%; however, parathyroid hormone values increased significantly in the treatment groups by 116%. Therapy was well tolerated without impact on graft function.
Conclusions: Cyclical therapy with clodronate or calcitonin appears to induce a gain in BMD at the lumbar spine in patients with low bone mass after kidney transplantation. This treatment had no adverse impact on graft function but may aggravate preexisting secondary hyperparathyroidism.