Fluoride, in combination with calcium and vitamin D, increases bone mass and lowers the risk of backbone fractures associated with osteoporosis, researchers from University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas report. Fluoride is known to stimulate new bone formation, but concerns about its safety have limited its use in the elderly.
In their study, researchers compared fluoride, calcium, and vitamin D with calcium and vitamin D alone in the treatment of 85 women aged 65 years or older who had already experienced one or more backbone fractures from osteoporosis. The fluoride used was a long-acting form.
Women treated with fluoride saw a 68% reduction of new or repeat fractures compared with women who did not receive fluoride. According to the results, the chance of fractures in other locations did not differ in the two groups of women, and estrogen use did not seem to influence the results. Bone density increased in both treatment groups, without measurable differences between the two.
Women treated with fluoride showed significant improvements in various measures of bone formation compared with women not treated with fluoride, suggesting that bone remodeling prevented fractures and bone formation. None of the ill effects previously associated with the use of higher doses of fluoride were seen in these patients.
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