In a family with IH, a rare high turnover bone disease, two older siblings were wheelchair-bound with severe skeletal deformity by age 15. Their youngest affected sibling was treated intensively with intravenous bisphosphonates for 3 years. The treatment was well tolerated and prevented the development of deformity and disability.
Introduction: Idiopathic hyperphosphatasia (IH, also known as juvenile Paget's disease) is a rare genetic bone disease characterized by very high bone turnover and progressive bony deformity. Inhibitors of bone resorption have been used to suppress bone turnover in the short term, but there is no published data on long-term efficacy.
Materials and Methods: An 11-year-old girl with IH, who had two severely affected older siblings, presented with progressive deformity and deafness and long bone fractures. Conventional pediatric doses of pamidronate had failed to prevent clinical deterioration or suppress bone turnover completely. Intensive bisphosphonate therapy (frequent 5-mg ibandronate infusions) was given to try and arrest progression of the skeletal disease. Growth and development, pure tone audiometry, biochemistry, radiology, densitometry (DXA), and bone histology were monitored.
Results: A total of 45 mg ibandronate was given over 3 years until skeletal maturity was reached (20, 15, and 10 mg for years 1–3, respectively). Ibandronate treatment was well tolerated, and biochemical markers of bone turnover suppressed to within the age-appropriate normal range There was some progression of her thoracic kyphosis, but she had no further fractures and remained mobile and active at an age when her siblings had become wheelchair-bound. A significant recovery of hearing (p < 0.01) was documented, particularly at low frequencies. Radiographs showed improvement in spinal osteoporosis and cortical bone dimensions and arrest of progressive acetabular protrusion. Areal bone density increased substantially (lumbar spine z-score from −2.2 to + 1.8). Tetracycline-labeled bone biopsy specimens were taken before and after 18 months of intensive treatment. The second biopsy showed suppression of bone turnover and a doubling of trabecular thickness, with no mineralization defect, and no osteopetrosis.
Conclusions: Intensive bisphosphonate treatment prevented the development of deformity and disability and improved hearing in this child with IH. The dose of bisphosphonate, which is substantially greater than is usually used in pediatric bone disease, had no adverse effects, in particular on bone mineralization.