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February 1, 1980

Sodium Fluoride for Osteoporosis—Some Unanswered Questions

Author Affiliations

Veterans Administration Hospital Tacoma, Wash

JAMA. 1980;243(5):463-464. doi:10.1001/jama.1980.03300310051023

Physicians can now deal satisfactorily with many diseases within every disease category, including metabolic diseases and even some neoplastic diseases. One metabolic disease about which many physicians feel singularly insecure with respect to treatment is osteoporosis. This is not to say that research progress has not been made in the treatment of osteoporosis, and perhaps the most productive institution in this regard is the Mayo Clinic. Recent studies from this and other laboratories indicate that osteoporosis can be arrested, at least temporarily, by a number of agents. Some of these may even produce a sustained, modest increase in calcium balance. None of them, however, has as yet been shown to reduce bone pain or to decrease fracture frequency. Such claims have been made only about one agent—sodium fluoride (NaF), usually in combination with calcium and vitamin D, a regimen pioneered by the Mayo Clinic group. However, adamant denials of any