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Raloxifene improves bone mass in osteopenic women with primary biliary cirrhosis: results of a pilot study


Keith D. Lindor, MD, Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, 200 1st St SW-W 19 A, Rochester, MN 55905, USA.
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Abstract: Background/Aims: Bone disease is common in patients with primary biliary cirrhosis (PBC). Our aim was to evaluate safety and efficacy of raloxifene in this population.

Methods: Nine postmenopausal women with PBC were enrolled and seven completed the study. Subjects received raloxifene 60 mg daily for 1 year. Each patient on raloxifene was age-matched to three controls. Liver biochemistries were monitored periodically; bone mineral density (BMD) of the lumbar spine (LS) and femoral neck (FN) was measured at baseline and at 1 year.

Results: No significant adverse effects were reported. Liver biochemistries remained unchanged. Baseline LS-BMD was similar in the treatment group and controls [median 0.720 g/cm2 (range 0.620–0.867) vs. 0.740 g/cm2 (0.570–1.040), P=0.5].

Conclusion: Compared with baseline, LS-BMD improved significantly with 1 year of therapy [0.72 g/cm2 (0.62–0.87) vs. 0.74 g/cm2 (0.63–0.97), P=0.02]. FN-BMD remained stable [0.53 g/cm2 (0.50–0.60) vs. 0.54 g/cm2 (0.49–0.63), P=0.6]. Improvement in LS BMD was seen in patients on raloxifene but not in matched controls [0.02 g/cm2 (0.01–0.10) vs. 0.00 g/cm2 (−0.120–0.040), P=0.06)]. In conclusion, raloxifene appears safe and of benefit in preventing bone loss in patients with PBC. Larger studies with longer follow-up are warranted.