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Albright was the first of many to show that loss of bone mass due to estrogen deficiency is an important part of the pathogenesis of postmenopausal osteoporosis. This led to the use of estrogen therapy which was shown to prevent bone loss at menopause and to reduce the risk of important fragility fractures. Selective estrogen receptor modulators (SERMs), with salutary estrogen-like skeletal effects and with protection from breast cancer, have important roles in the management of young postmenopausal women. New members of the SERM family may approach the effectiveness of estrogen in preventing bone loss and reducing fracture risk. When combined with estrogen, new SERMs prevent endometrial hyperplasia, and that combination reduces menopausal symptoms and prevents bone loss. Drugs that reduce bone turnover or stimulate bone formation by non-estrogen pathways have also been developed to treat osteoporosis. Emerging therapies, with unique mechanisms of action, may provide improved efficacy in treating women who already have osteoporosis.


Institute for Health and Ageing

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Journal Article

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