Fluoride Action Network


The possible effects of fluoride in inducing fractures were studied in 61 patients treated with sodium fluoride (NaF), 40-60 mg daily in combination with calcium and vitamin D. Nine patients developed the fluoride-(F) related lower extremity pain syndrome. Four other patients had stress fractures associated with trauma. Seven of the 61 patients had 10 upper femur fractures of which 5 were stress fractures. The bone mineral mass of the central skeleton including the hips was measured by neutron activation and the results expressed as a calcium bone index (CaBI) which normalizes the results to that of young adults of the same body size (normal range 0.75-1.2). At the time of hip fracture, 4 patients with a minimal increase in bone mass (mean delta CaBI 0.01) had 4 femur fractures and 3 patients with a marked increase (mean delta CaBI 0.24) had 6. The 7 patients with upper femur fractures at 4 years had a significantly higher bone fluoride retention, 30 mg/g Ca compared with 23.9 mg/g Ca for the other 54 (p less than 0.02) and were older, 73.1 versus 64.2 years (p less than 0.01). Using all 61 fluoride-treated patients, femur fractures/patient were significantly correlated to bone fluoride (p less than 0.05) and to age (p less than 0.05). By partial correlation, only the correlation between hip fractures/patient and bone fluoride remained significant after controlling for the effect of age (p less than 0.05). These results suggest that fluoride therapy may be implicated in the pathogenesis of hip fractures which may occur in treated patients despite a rapid, marked increase in bone mass. The lower extremity pain syndrome is not frequently associated with stress fractures in this study.