Preclinical studies indicate that strontium ranelate (SrRan) induces opposite effects on bone osteoblasts and osteoclasts, suggesting that SrRan may have a dual action on both formation and resorption. By contrast, alendronate (ALN) is a potent antiresorptive agent. In this multicenter, international, double-blind, controlled study conducted in 387 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis, transiliac bone biopsies were performed at baseline and after 6 or 12 months of treatment with either SrRan 2 g per day (n = 256) or alendronate 70 mg per week (n = 131). No deleterious effect on mineralization of SrRan or ALN was observed. In the intention-to-treat (ITT) population (268 patients with paired biopsy specimens), changes in static and dynamic bone formation parameters were always significantly higher with ALN compared with SrRan at month 6 (M6) and month 12 (M12). Static parameters of formation were maintained between baseline and the last value with SrRan, except for osteoblast surfaces, which decreased at M6. Significant decreases in the dynamic parameters of formation (mineralizing surface, bone formation rate, adjusted apposition rate, activation frequency) were noted at M6 and M12 in SrRan. Compared with ALN, the bone formation parameters at M6 and M12 were always significantly higher (p < 0.001) with SrRan. ALN, but not SrRan, decreased resorption parameters. Compared with the baseline paired biopsy specimens, wall thickness was significantly decreased at M6 but not at M12 and cancellous bone structure parameters (trabecular bone volume, trabecular thickness, trabecular number, number of nodes/tissue volume) were significantly decreased at M12 with SrRan; none of these changes were significantly different from ALN. In conclusion, this large controlled paired biopsy study over 1 year shows that the bone formation remains higher with a lower diminution of the bone remodeling with SrRan versus ALN. From these results, SrRan did not show a significant anabolic action on bone remodeling. © 2014 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.