The Impact of Antihypertensive Medications on Bone Mineral Density and Fracture Risk

Barzilay JI1, Davis BR2, Pressel SL2, Ghosh A2, Puttnam R3, Margolis KL4, Whelton PK5.
Curr Cardiol Rep. 2017 Sep;19(9):76. doi: 10.1007/s11886-017-0888-0.

This review summarizes the impact of thiazide diuretics on fracture risk in older hypertensive individuals.

We performed a post hoc evaluation of the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial, a randomized, prospective, double blind hypertension study comparing a thiazide-like diuretic, a calcium channel blocker (CCB), and an angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEi). We examined the risk of hip and pelvic fractures during the in-trial period (n = 22,180 participants; mean 4.9-year follow-up) and during the post-trial period using national data bases (n = 16,622 participants) (mean total follow-up 7.8 years). During the trial, participants randomized to the thiazide diuretic versus the CCB or the ACEi had a lower risk of fracture on adjusted analyses (HR 0.79 [95% CI, 0.63, 0.98], p = 0.04). Risk of fracture was significantly lower in participants randomized to the diuretic as compared to those randomized to the ACEi (HR 0.75 [95% CI, 0.58, 0.98]; p = 0.04), but not significantly different compared to the CCB (HR 0.87 [95% CI, 0.71, 1.09]; p = 0.17). Over the entire trial and post-trial period of follow-up, the cumulative incidence of fractures was non-significantly lower in participants assigned to the diuretic vs assignment to the ACEi or the CCB (HR 0.87 [0.74-1.03], p = 0.10) and versus each medication separately. These findings establish a benefit for thiazide diuretic treatment for the prevention of fractures versus other commonly used antihypertensive medications using prospective, randomized data. The effects of the thiazide diuretic on bone appear to be long lasting.


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