Bisphosphonate prevents bone loss during HIV treatment

A dose of zoledronic acid at the same time as antiretroviral therapy reduces bone resorption, a phase II clinical trial suggests.

Close up of 3D rendered illustration of a porous bone structure

HIV infection is commonly associated with bone loss, and this is enhanced during the first 48 weeks of antiretroviral therapy (ART). 

In a phase II clinical trial, researchers tested whether a single dose of the bisphosphonate zoledronic acid at the time of ART initiation can prevent bone loss. 

Among 63 patients, those assigned to zoledronic acid had 56% less bone resorption at 48 weeks than those assigned to placebo, an effect that was already observed within 12 weeks of ART. And bone mineral density at fracture-prone sites, such as the lumbar spine, increased in the zoledronic acid group but decreased in the placebo group. 

Reporting at a conference in Boston, Massachusetts, on 22–25 February 2016[1]
, the researchers from Emory University in Atlanta say that their findings will need to be confirmed in a large, multicentre study.


[1] Ofotokun I, Titanji K, Vunnava A et al. A single dose zoledronic acid prevents antiretroviral-induced bone loss. Presented at: 2016 Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections; 22-25 February 2016; Boston, Massachusetts.

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, April 2016, Vol 8, No 4;8(4):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20200793

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