Intravenous zoledronic acid versus placebo in children with glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis: A randomized, double-blind, multi-national phase 3 trial



Glucocorticoids (GCs) prescribed for chronic pediatric illnesses are associated with osteoporotic fractures.


This study aims to determine the efficacy and safety of intravenous (IV) zoledronic acid (ZA) compared with placebo to treat pediatric GC-induced osteoporosis (GIO).


Children aged 5 to 17 years with GIO were enrolled in this multinational, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial ( NCT 00799266). Eligible children were randomly assigned 1:1 to 6 monthly IV ZA 0.05 mg/kg or IV placebo. The primary end point was the change in lumbar spine bone mineral density z score (LSBMDZ) from baseline to month 12. Incident fractures and safety were assessed.


Thirty-four children were enrolled (mean age 12.6 ± 3.4 years [18 on ZA, 16 on placebo]), all with low-trauma vertebral fractures (VFs). LSBMDZ increased from −2.13 ± 0.79 to −1.49 ± 1.05 on ZA, compared with −2.38 ± 0.90 to −2.27 ± 1.03 on placebo (least squares means difference 0.41 [95% CI, 0.02-0.81; P = .04]); when corrected for height z score, the least squares means difference in LBMDZ was 0.75 [95% CI, 0.27-1.22; P = .004]. Two children on placebo had new low-trauma VF vs none on ZA. Adverse events (AEs) were reported in 15 of 18 children (83%) on ZA, and in 12 of 16 (75%) on placebo, most frequently within 10 days after the first infusion. There were no deaths or treatment discontinuations due to treatment-emergent AEs.


LSBMDZ increased significantly on ZA compared with placebo over 1 year in children with GIO. Most AEs occurred after the first infusion.

Lead Researchers

Link to Publication


  1. Leanne Ward

    Senior Scientist, CHEO Research Institute

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