While bisphosphonates reduce fracture risk over 3 to 5 years, the optimal duration of treatment is uncertain. In a randomized extension study (E1) of the Health Outcomes and Reduced Incidence with Zoledronic Acid Once Yearly-Pivotal Fracture Trial (HORIZON-PFT), zoledronic acid (ZOL) 5 mg annually for 6 years showed maintenance of bone mineral density (BMD), decrease in morphometric vertebral fractures, and a modest reduction in bone turnover markers (BTMs) compared with discontinuation after 3 years. To investigate the longer-term efficacy and safety of ZOL, a second extension (E2) was conducted to 9 years in which women on ZOL for 6 years in E1 were randomized to either ZOL (Z9) or placebo (Z6P3) for 3 additional years. In this multicenter, randomized, double-blind study, 190 women were randomized to Z9 (n = 95) and Z6P3 (n = 95). The primary endpoint was change in total hip BMD at year 9 vs. year 6 in Z9 compared with Z6P3. Other secondary endpoints included fractures, BTMs, and safety. From year 6 to 9, the mean change in total hip BMD was -0.54% in Z9 vs. -1.31% in Z6P3 (difference 0.78%; 95% confidence interval [CI]: -0.37%, 1.93%; p = 0.183). BTMs showed small, non-significant increases in those who discontinued after 6 years compared with those who continued for 9 years. The number of fractures was low and did not significantly differ by treatment. While generally safe, there was a small increase in cardiac arrhythmias (combined serious and non-serious) in the Z9 group but no significant imbalance in other safety parameters. The results suggest almost all patients who have received six annual ZOL infusions can stop medication for up to 3 years with apparent maintenance of benefits.
- Biochemical markers of bone turnover
- Fracture prevention
- Randomized clinical trials
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine