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Osteoporosis: strontium ranelate has too many adverse effects

Alendronic acid is the best treatment for osteoporosis.

Strontium ranelate is used to prevent fractures in osteoporosis patients. However, it is only moderately effective in preventing recurrences of vertebral fractures.

At the end of 2010, the French Health Products Safety Agency (Afssaps) published a review of pharmacovigilance reports concerning strontium ranelate, analysing 884 adverse effects notified between January 2006 and March 2009: 199 were severe, chiefly cardiovascular, cutaneous, hepatodigestive, neurological, haematological and respiratory disorders, and 8 patients died.

Strontium ranelate offers no therapeutic advantage compared to alendronic acid. Since its commercialisation in 2005, there has been more evidence of its adverse effects, and today, it is clear that patients should not be exposed to the harms associated with this drug.

©Prescrire 1 June 2011

"Strontium ranelate: too many adverse effects" Prescrire Int 2011; 20 (117): 155. (Pdf, subscribers only)

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