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Can strontium ranelate help treat osteoporosis?

David Slovik, MD
Endocrinology Diabetes & Metabolism
Researchers are continually on the hunt for more effective and more targeted treatments for osteoporosis. Strontium ranelate, a compound currently used in Europe but considered experimental in the United States, seems to show benefits on both of these fronts. The compound incorporates the element strontium, which is found in trace amounts throughout the skeleton. Results from trials conducted by French researchers suggest that strontium ranelate may reduce vertebral fractures about as effectively as bisphosphonates. The drug is believed to work by reducing bone breakdown. In addition, a 2009 study in the journal Bone indicated that strontium ranelate may be particularly effective in managing osteoporosis risk in women ages 75 and older -- a group that is especially vulnerable to fractures. Still, more research is needed before this compound becomes available for use in treating osteoporosis in the United States.

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