I’ve never been an advocate for strontium ranelate, as a matter of fact I’ve always been very critical as I thought of strontium ranelate as being a drug that does what sodium fluoride does.
Now I’ve found a study on rats that support my viewpoint. I must admit that I’m not too fond of animal studies, but maybe there’s no other way. “The animals were euthanized after either 3 or 8 weeks of treatment.” Rats! What the authors mean is that the rats were killed. Maybe I overact with this kind of euphemism in the light of Germany’s history.
But let’s move from OT to the real topic. J.B. Vegger and colleagues published the following study: “Systemic Treatment with Strontium Ranelate Does Not Influence the Healing of Femoral Mid-shaft Defects in Rats.” They looked at the healing of cortical bone defects in rats and the effect of short-term treatment with strontium ranelate on intact trabecular bone (vertebral bodies). They’ve found an increased thickness of the defects after 3 weeks of treatment, “whereas no effect on bone volume fraction (BV/TV), mechanical properties (maximum strength and maximum stiffness), periosteal callus volume, or osteoclast-covered bone surfaces (Oc.S/BS [osteoclast-covered bone surfaces]) after either 3 or 8 weeks of treatment was found”. Strontium ranelate increased the bone material density of the vertebral bodies, but there hasn’t been any influence on the mechanical properties of the vertebral bodies. “In conclusion, 3 weeks of treatment with SrR (strontium ranelate) increased the thickness of the healing mid-femoral cortical bone defects in rats, but did not influence BV/TV (bone volume fraction), mechanical properties, periosteal callus volume, or Oc.S/BS after either 3 or 8 weeks. Furthermore, SrR had no effect on the microstructure and mechanical properties of the vertebral bodies.”
To sum it up, according to this study strontium ranelate increases bone mass, but does not increase the quality of the bones. In osteodensitometry you will get favorable results (more calcium), but as the bone quality (bone architecture) isn’t affected, the bone is as weak as before. I conclude from this study, that strontium ranelate makes the bone heavier but not stronger.
Oral strontium ranelate for the treatment of knee osteoarthritis? http://rheumatologe.blogspot.de/2012/03/oral-strontium-ranelate-for-treatment.html
Strontiumranelat (in German) - http://rheumatologe.blogspot.de/2014/02/strontiumranelat.html
Systemic Treatment with Strontium Ranelate Does Not Influence the Healing of Femoral Mid-shaft Defects in Rats https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26543033