OBJECTIVE We determined whether a progestogen given alone to post-menopausal women may prevent bone loss.

STUDY DESIGN Thirty-five early post-menopausal women who had not received any form of treatment to prevent bone loss were randomly assigned to a 2-year regimen of 500 μ g/day of a gestagen derived from 19-norprogester-one (Promegestone) or a placebo for 21 days out of a 28-day treatment cycle. Bone mineral density of the spine was measured by dual photon absorptiometry.

RESULTS After 2 years of treatment bone mineral density decreased significantly in the placebo group by a mean of 4.5%. In the gestagen group, the rate of bone change was significantly lower as compared to the placebo group (-1.3%± 1.2% vs −4.5%± 2% (mean ± SEM), P & lt; 0.05). There were no changes in the biochemical bone turnover parameters in the placebo group but in the gestagen group a significant decrease was observed in the urinary calcium excretion after 2 years.

CONCLUSION The results suggest that a gestagen with no androgenic action can partly counteract early post-menopausal bone loss.