Denosumab versus Bisphosphonates for Reducing Fractures in Postmenopausal Women with Osteoporosis: A Meta-Analysis

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Background: There are multiple classes of pharmacologic agents approved for treatment of osteoporosis, but their costs vary widely, and systematic data on their efficacy compared with the traditional standard, bisphosphonates, for reducing fractures in postmenopausal women are lacking. The objective was to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis assessing the efficacy of denosumab compared with bisphosphonates. Methods: Researchers selected randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing denosumab to bisphosphonates that included information on clinical and/or osteoporotic fracture events over the follow-up period. Each clinical outcome was meta-analyzed using a fixed-effects analysis, with clinical and osteoporotic fractures as the outcomes of interest. A meta-regression was performed using change in bone mineral density (BMD) as the moderator variable. Results: Seven RCTs were included. Denosumab was not associated with a reduction in clinical or osteoporotic fractures compared with bisphosphonates. There was no association between the change in BMD with denosumab and bisphosphonates and denosumab’s effect on both osteoporotic and clinical fractures. Discussion: Existing data do not support the use of the more expensive denosumab as a first-line agent over bisphosphonates for reduction of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. One limitation in this study was each RCT was not individually powered for fracture incidences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)175-185
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice


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