Vol 4 No 1 (2018): Current Issue
Research Article

Continuing Relief of Pain with Long Term Treatment for Osteoporosis with Intravenous Pamidronate

Wilson S
School of Sport Health and Exercise Sciences, Bangor University
Sharp CA
Chester Medical School, University of Chester (University Centre Shrewsbury), Guildhall, Shrewsbury, UK
Davie MWJ
Charles Salt Centre for Human Metabolism, Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Hospital, Oswestry, Shropshire, UK
Published August 10, 2018


Purpose: Bisphosphonates are valuable in reducing the incidence of fracture. Side effects limit persistence with oral therapy and long term studies of pain relief are difficult to pursue. Intravenous bisphosphonates offer an alternative treatment to oral bisphosphonates and are tolerated over a longer period. The use of Pamidronate, an intravenously administered bisphosphonate, to benefit pain and reduce fracture incidence in the long term has not been extensively investigated. The study aimed to investigate the effect of Pamidronate on pain, vertebral fracture incidence and Bone Mineral Density over 6 or more years.
Methods: Patients were offered intravenous Pamidronate if oral treatment with bisphosphonates or Hormone replacement therapy had failed due to side effects, fractures continued on oral treatment or oesophageal reflux led to cessation of oral treatment. Pain was assessed using the Nottingham health profile; radiographs were used to evaluate vertebral fracture and DXA measured bone mineral density.
Results: The primary outcome was the pain domain. Median patient follow up was 9 years. Pain had improved significantly (p = 0.03) and in 68% pain had either improved or remained unchanged. Vertebral fractures occurred in 14% of patients in the first 3 years, 9.5% in years 4-6, but increased in years 7-9 to 27%. Bone mineral density increased in the lumbar spine (p < 0.001) but not at the femoral neck.
Conclusions: Pamidronate had a beneficial effect on pain over the period of the study. Vertebral fracture incidence increased after 6 years of Pamidronate, although spine BMD increased significantly.