Background & Aims: Crohn's disease causes an increase in osteopenia and osteoporosis. This study assessed the efficacy of adding etidronate to calcium and vitamin D supplementation for treatment of low bone mineral density in Crohn's disease. Methods: One hundred fifty-four patients with Crohn's disease with decreased bone mineral density, determined by using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry, were randomly assigned to receive etidronate (400 mg orally) or not for 14 days; both groups were then given daily calcium (500 mg) and vitamin D (400 IU) supplementation for 76 days. This cycle was repeated 8 times during a period of 24 months. Biochemical characteristics and bone mineral densities were assessed at 6, 12, and 24 months. Results: After 24 months bone mineral density significantly increased from baseline in both the etidronate- and the non-etidronate-treated groups (both groups receiving calcium and vitamin D supplementation) at the lumbar spine (P <. 001), ultradistal radius (P <. 001), and trochanter (P =. 004) sites, but not at the total hip. The increase in bone mineral density was similar in each treatment group. No bone mineral density differences were found when groups were analyzed according to gender, corticosteroid use, bone mineral density at baseline, or age. Conclusions: Low bone mineral density is frequently associated with Crohn's disease. Supplementation with daily calcium and vitamin D is associated with increases in bone mineral density. The addition of oral etidronate does not further enhance bone mineral density.
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