Alendronate, an aminobisphosphonate, is much more potent than etidronate, an older bisphosphonate, in inhibiting osteoclast-mediated bone resorption, and unlike etidronate, therapeutic doses of alendronate are not associated with abnormal mineralization. In the present study, we compared the effectiveness, safety, and tolerability of 6 months of daily oral administration of alendronate (40 mg/with those of etidronate (400 mg) in 89 patients with clinically active Paget's disease. The primary efficacy end point was the percent change in serum alkaline phosphatase. Other end points included changes in urinary deoxypyridinoline excretion, pain, functional impairment scores, and radiological osteolysis. Tetracycline-labeled bone biopsies were obtained for histomorphometric analysis from a subset of 43 patients at the 6-month visit. The alendronate-treated group had significantly greater decreases in both serum alkaline phosphatase (79% vs. 44%) and urinary deoxypyridinoline (75% vs. 51%) than the etidronate-treated group (P < 0.001 in both cases). Normalization of serum alkaline phosphatase was much more frequent in alendronate-treated patients (63.4% vs. 17.0%; P < 0.001). Alendronate was well tolerated and had a safety profile similar to that of etidronate. Histomorphometry revealed decreased bone turnover and no qualitative abnormalities, including no direct negative effects on bone mineralization, with alendronate treatment. One patient receiving etidronate developed frank osteomalacia. Alendronate appears to be a highly effective treatment for Paget's disease of bone that offers an important therapeutic advance over etidronate.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Biochemistry, medical