In a randomized multicenter, double-blind, double-dummy, parallel group study a comparison of the efficacy and safety of 1 μg alfacalcidol to 880 IU vitamin D plus calcium carbonate (1 g calcium) once daily per os was performed on 148 postmenopausal osteoporotic Caucasian patients with normal vitamin D serum levels for 18 months. Bone mineral density (BMD) was measured at baseline, 12 and 18 months. Safety parameters were followed during the entire study period. Sixty-nine (90.8%) in the alfacalcidol group and 67 (93.1%) in the vitamin D group were included in the ITT analysis. Lumbar BMD in the alfacalcidol group increased by 0.017 g/cm2 (2.33%) and 0.021 g/cm2 (2.87%) from baseline (P <0.001) at 12 and 18 months, respectively, whereas in the vitamin D plus calcium group the increase was 0.005 g/cm2 (0.70%) from baseline (N.S.) at both 12 and 18 months. The higher changes from baseline in the alfacalcidol group, as compared to the changes in the vitamin D plus calcium group at both 12 and 18 months, were found to be statistically significant (P = 0.018, 0.005). A small increase of mean femoral BMD was achieved in both groups (N.S.). Adverse events were similar in both groups. No significant differences were noted between the groups in serum calcium. In conclusion, alfacalcidol was found to be superior in significantly increasing lumbar BMD as compared to vitamin D plus calcium while safety characteristics were found to be similar in both treatments.
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