Glucocorticoids are potent anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents. However,
prolonged use of these potent agents results in severe bone loss and osteoporotic fractures.
Parathyroid hormone (1-34), when given as a daily injection has been found to dramatically
increase bone mass in osteoporotic animals and postmenopausal women. The purpose of this
study is to determine whether 2 years of daily PTH (1-34) injections will increase bone mass
and reduce the development of new fractures. In addition, we will follow the study subjects
for 2 more years to determine which type of anti-resorptive agent is required to maintain
the newly formed bone.
We are enrolling postmenopausal women that are on chronic corticosteroid therapy (prednisone
etc.) and have bone loss (osteopenia by DXA) to be a part of this four-year-long study. The
patients will receive two-year therapy with either PTH (1-34) or placebo, and for the second
part of the study subjects receive either estrogen and placebo or alendronate and placebo.
We will measure bone gain by standard bone densitometry, special x-rays of the spine and
hip, and serum and urine bone markers.
- Postmenopausal women on glucocorticoids (prednisone 5mg/d or greater
- Osteopenia by T score of hip or lumbar spine of -2.0
- All study subjects must be on a stable dose of estrogen/progesterone or raloxifene
- Ambulatory and able to come to the clinical center 9 times over 2 years
- Willing to sign an informed consent
- Generalized disease of the bone (other than glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis),
including hyperparathyroidism, hyperthyroidism, Paget's disease)
- Diseases that affect bone metabolism (e.g. alcoholism, inflammatory bowel disease,
malabsorption, renal disease (Cr2) or liver disease (transaminase level 2 times limit
- Within the past 1 year, regular use of medications that are known to affect bone
metabolism (e.g. anabolic steroids, anticoagulants, anticonvulsants, pharmacologic
doses of vitamin D and vitamin A supplements).
- History of drug abuse
- Senile dementia, paraplegia and/or quadriplegia
- Unstable rheumatic disease with clinically significant renal or central nervous