Which may seem like a contradiction in terms, but I’m actually not being facetious. HighImpactLover compiled a list of links about research on Strontium Ranelate and put them in one, very long thread. Her recaps of pertinent information are brief. Just says things like, 2-year study showing effects of Sr on BMD at 175, 340 and 680 mg doses. That kind of thing. So you have to click on the links and read all the articles. Which will take you a while.
Thinking that many of you may be like me and you don’t really want to have to click through all that, I’m going to try to parse some of the information here. But you should click on the links because many times there are handy-dandy charts. And even in this post, I’m not going to be highlighting all of HighImpactLover’s links because… it’s just too daunting. I’m cherry-picking the articles in which I’m interested.
First up, the aforementioned study on effects of strontium ranelate (a/k/a SR, a prescription version of strontium) over a period of two years given at doses of 175, 340 or 680 mgs vs. a placebo given to a control group.
The study included 353 osteoporotic women, all of whom had at least one vertebral fracture prior to the study, and all with low BMD of the lumbar spine. BMD of hips and spine were measured with DEXAs, new vertebral fractures were kept track of, and they also did NTx testing for bone turnover markers.
The women who took the larger doses of SR had the greatest gains in spinal BMD (chart to the left). They also had fewer new spinal fractures (they don’t give a percentage) and had much lower bone turnover markers.
The article then discusses subsequent studies, each with increasingly large groups of women: 1,649 in the second study (which lasted 3 years) and 7,000 in the third (also three years.) Same results: lowered fracture risk, fewer reported fractures, significant gains in BMD of both hips and spine.
The article then discusses side-benefits of strontium: it’s a good treatment for people with bone cancer, it prevents cavities, they think it may help replace cartilage around bone, thus reducing arthritis symptoms. (This last study was done in 2006.)
The next article to which she links is actually about the same study as above (which was called the STRATOS study). So nothing new there. It’s just more technical jargon.
The next link concerns the TROPOS study (not to be confused with the STRATOS study). TROPOS stands for Treatment of Peripheral Osteoporosis Study, in which they were mainly concerned with the prevention of non-vertebral fractures (i.e., your hips.) The article also talks about the SOTI study (all these acroynyms: Spinal Osteoporosis Therapeutic Intervention). Bascially says the same thing as the article above: 680 mg of strontium ranelate increases BMD of both hips and spine and prevent fractures. This study lasted for 8 years. And they have another handy-dandy chart.
As you can see from the graph, strontium ranelate does effect hip BMD, but nearly as effectively as it does the spine (wonder why?) And from looking at the curve, it seems to level off after about 6 years, doesn’t it? But leveling off is certainly preferable to “taking a nosedive” which is what my BMD has been doing. At the end of the article, they list the mean BMD of the participants: at the start of the study in 1997, spinal BMD was -2.58; in 2009 the mean spinal BMD was -0.1.
The comes the link to all the information in which I’m interested: what happens when you stop taking strontium ranelate? If I’m understanding this, here’s how the study worked. They had this large group of women. They divided them into three groups. Women who started out taking strontium ranelate for x-number of years in the study and then were switched to a placebo; women who started out taking a placebo and then switched to strontium ranelate; and women who took strontium ranelate for the entire study.
Now, because the number of women participating is 1649 (exactly the same number mentioned in the first article linked to above — I’m thinking this is really the same STRATOS study results – the second leg of it where they included more women. Remember the first group had 353 participants and was for 2 years, and the second batch had 1649 and lasted 3 years. Unless they go around routinely grabbing exactly 1649 women for medical studies, I think this is possibly the same study. (I need the eagle-eyed Betsy to help me out with this one.)
Anywhoo, long article, lots of mumbo-jumbo, but also lots of charts. Below are the baseline measures at the beginning of the study, and the measures after taking strontium for 4 years, and the measures of the people who switched from placebo to SR or from SR to placebo. The people who stayed on SR have the better scores. *If you click on the picture, it should get bigger.
Next a chart that shows the incidences of new fractures. For all this talk about SR reducing fractures, I’d expect to see the bar showing the SR-dosing fracture occurrence as being non-existent. But that’s not the case. It’s only slightly lower than the non-SR fracture bar. (The SR-dose fracture bar is in black.) This one, alas, will not get bigger.
The two bars furthest left (I believe) represent people who had one vertebral fracture before the study started. The white bar represents new fractures had by those who didn’t take SR; the black bar, new fractures by those taking SR.
The next two bars represent participants who had two or more vertebral fractures before they study. The white bar represents the non-SR takers’ new vertebral fractures; the black bar new fractures in the SR group.
The third set of bars (this is where I get confused — clinical fractures?) From reading the preceding paragraph in the article, I believe this is a combination of the two groups (the “we had one fracture before the study” group and the “we had more than one fracture before the study” group) to show the mean occurrence of new fractures as a whole. Uncertain about this.
This is as far as I’ve gotten. There are tons more articles to which she links and I’ll report more as I continue to read if I find something new and interesting.