Nitroglycerin ointment for the prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
To determine whether clinical trial data support the use of nitroglycerin for prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
A literature search using MEDLINE (1966-September 2011) and EMBASE (1973-September 2011) was conducted using the search terms nitroglycerin, bone mineral density, fracture, and osteoporosis. References of identified articles were reviewed for additional citations.
All English-language articles related to the use of nitroglycerin ointment in postmenopausal women were reviewed.
Four observational studies reported significant improvements in bone mineral density of postmenopausal women with the use of nitrates. One pilot study and 2 prospective, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trials reported conflicting results regarding the efficacy of nitroglycerin ointment.
Clinical data do not support use of nitroglycerin for this indication; its potential is limited at this time by inconclusive efficacy and a high incidence of headache. Further well-designed clinical trials demonstrating efficacy and safety of nitroglycerin ointment for prevention of postmenopausal osteoporosis are needed before this medication can be recommended for routine use.
Beckett RD, Sheehan AH
Ann Pharmacother Dec 2011