Raloxifene and estrogen: Comparative bone-remodeling kinetics

Robert P. Heaney, Michael W. Draper

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Scopus citations


The pattern of changes in human bone remodeling produced by raloxifene (60 mg/day) was compared to that of estrogen (given as hormone replacement therapy) in 33 early postmenopausal women randomly assigned to raloxifene, estrogen, or no treatment. Remodeling was measured using calcium tracer kinetic methods employed under a constant diet and full metabolic balance conditions. Studies were performed at baseline and, to detect both early and late remodeling changes, at 4 and 31 weeks of treatment. Both raloxifene and estrogen produced a significant positive calcium balance shift at each treatment measurement point: +74 and +60 mg/day at 4 weeks, and +60 and +91 mg/day at 31 weeks for raloxifene and estrogen, respectively. Externally, this balance change was due to a highly significant fall in the urinary calcium level and marginal improvement in calcium absorption efficiency. Internally, bone resorption was significantly reduced at both measurement points: -64 and -60 mg/day at 4 weeks, and -82 and - 162 mg/day at 31 weeks for raloxifene and estrogen, respectively. Bone formation was not significantly affected by either agent at 4 weeks; at 31 weeks, formation was reduced by estrogen, but not by raloxifene. Thus, at 4 weeks, the general pattern of remodeling change was identical for the two agents. At 31 weeks, remodeling suppression was greater for estrogen than for raloxifene; however, remodeling balance was the same for the two agents. We conclude that raloxifene and estrogen affect the bone remodeling apparatus similarly, and that raloxifene, therefore, is acting on bone as an estrogen agonist.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3425-3429
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 13 1997

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, medical


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