N Engl J Med. 2017 Sep 11. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1708322. [Epub ahead of print]

We enrolled 4093 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis and a fragility fracture and randomly assigned them in a 1:1 ratio to receive monthly subcutaneous romosozumab (210 mg) or weekly oral alendronate (70 mg) in a blinded fashion for 12 months, followed by open-label alendronate in both groups. The primary end points were the cumulative incidence of new vertebral fracture at 24 months and the cumulative incidence of clinical fracture (nonvertebral and symptomatic vertebral fracture) at the time of the primary analysis (after clinical fractures had been confirmed in ≥330 patients). Secondary end points included the incidences of nonvertebral and hip fracture at the time of the primary analysis. Serious cardiovascular adverse events, osteonecrosis of the jaw, and atypical femoral fractures were adjudicated.

Results Over a period of 24 months, a 48% lower risk of new vertebral fractures was observed in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group (6.2% [127 of 2046 patients]) than in the alendronate-to-alendronate group (11.9% [243 of 2047 patients]) (P<0.001). Clinical fractures occurred in 198 of 2046 patients (9.7%) in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group versus 266 of 2047 patients (13.0%) in the alendronate-to-alendronate group, representing a 27% lower risk with romosozumab (P<0.001). The risk of nonvertebral fractures was lower by 19% in the romosozumab-to-alendronate group than in the alendronate-to-alendronate group (178 of 2046 patients [8.7%] vs. 217 of 2047 patients [10.6%]; P=0.04), and the risk of hip fracture was lower by 38% (41 of 2046 patients [2.0%] vs. 66 of 2047 patients [3.2%]; P=0.02). Overall adverse events and serious adverse events were balanced between the two groups. During year 1, positively adjudicated serious cardiovascular adverse events were observed more often with romosozumab than with alendronate (50 of 2040 patients [2.5%] vs. 38 of 2014 patients [1.9%]). During the open-label alendronate period, adjudicated events of osteonecrosis of the jaw (1 event each in the romosozumab-to-alendronate and alendronate-to-alendronate groups) and atypical femoral fracture (2 events and 4 events, respectively) were observed. Conclusions In postmenopausal women with osteoporosis who were at high risk for fracture, romosozumab treatment for 12 months followed by alendronate resulted in a significantly lower risk of fracture than alendronate alone.

Saag KG, Petersen J, Brandi ML, Karaplis AC, Lorentzon M, Thomas T, Maddox J, Fan M, Meisner PD, Grauer A.

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