Treatment with the drug alendronate (Fosamax) can reduce the risk of vertebral bone fractures in women with low bone mass but not osteoporosis. 3,737 postmenopausal women between ages 55 and 80 years with bone mineral density T scores between -1.5 and -2.5 were evaluated . About half the women randomly received five milligrams of alendronate for two years and 10 milligrams thereafter while the other half took a placebo.
The risk of vertebral fracture was significantly reduced in the women who took alendronate compared to the placebo group. Effects of alendronate occurred very early in the treatment, and benefits of the treatment were greater in women who already had a vertebral fracture and/or other risk factors.
In conclusion, alendronate is effective in reducing the risk of vertebral factures in women with low bone mass who do not meet the bone mineral density criterion for osteoporosis.