We ascertained the safety and efficacy of fluoride in augmenting spinal bone mass and reducing spinal fractures in older women with established osteoporosis. We compared a combination of sustained-release sodium fluoride, calcium citrate, and cholecalciferol (SR-NaF group) with calcium and cholecalciferol alone (control group).
Eighty-five ambulatory women aged 65 years or older with 1 or more nontraumatic vertebral compression fractures were enrolled in a 42-month randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial. Primary outcome measures were vertebral fracture rate, bone mass, and safety.
The vertebral fracture rate determined by means of computer assistance in the SR-NaF group was significantly lower than that in the control group (relative risk [RR], 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.14-0.73; P = .007). Results of visual adjudicated inspection also confirmed a significant reduction in fracture rate (RR, 0.40; 95% CI, 0.17-0.95; P = .04). Bone mineral density in L2 through L4 increased significantly from baseline in the SR-NaF group by 5.4% (95% CI, 2.7%-8.2%; P<.001), and by 3.2% in the control group (95% CI, 0.8%-5.6%; P = .01). The between-group differences in bone mineral density were not significant. The femoral neck and total hip bone mineral density remained stable in the SR-NaF group and was not significantly different from that of the control group. There were no significant differences in adverse effects between groups.
The SR-NaF group significantly decreased the risk for vertebral fractures and increased spinal bone mass without reducing bone mass at the femoral neck and total hip.