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June 5, 1991

Etidronate and Osteoarthritis

Author Affiliations

Watseka, Ill

Watseka, Ill

JAMA. 1991;265(21):2807. doi:10.1001/jama.1991.03460210053013

To the Editor.—  In the past 2 years I have been treating patients with osteoporosis with etidronate disodium. Patients are instructed to avoid dairy products, calcium supplements, and any other source of calcium on days 1 through 18. On days 4 through 18, the patient is instructed to take 200 mg of etidronate disodium twice a day; after day 18 the patient takes 500 mg of calcium with vitamin D two times daily until the start of the next cycle.Each cycle starts with a season of the year (ie, spring, summer, fall, winter) for ease of memory. I have selected the patient population on the basis of multiple compression fractures, and the drug appears effective in preventing new compression fractures as well as long-bone fractures, as has been reported previously.1Surprisingly, I have also noted that patients report less osteoarthritic pain, and several patients have stopped using their