Risedronate is a bisphosphonate type drug which is approved by the FDA for prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. It has been recently evaluated for the treatment of osteoarthritis.

In animal models, some studies have shown that it has decreased pain and slowed the progression of arthritis. However, results in human trials have been less promising.

Perhaps further research in this area is required.

“Although risedronate (compared with placebo) did not improve signs or symptoms of OA (osteoarthritis), nor did it alter progression of OA, a reduction in the level of a marker of cartilage degradation was observed. A sustained clinically relevant improvement in signs and symptoms was observed in all treatment and placebo groups” (Bingham et al, 2006).

Update:  April 24, 2010

Analgesic and Chondroprotective Effects of Risedronate in Osteoarthritis

Researchers in Japan (Fujita et al, 2008) found that risedronate when taken as 2.5mg per day reduced pain in subjects with osteoarthritis of the knee.  Risedronate use also decreased collagen fragment excretion which suggests that risedronate may have chondroprotetective effects (cartilage protecting) for those who suffer from osteoarthritis of the knee.

Effects of Risedronate on Osteoarthritis of the Knee:

Again, a more recent publication from researchers in Japan (Iwamoto et al, 2010) reviewed the literature for studies on risedronate use for osteoarthritis of the knee.  One study that they reviewed involved patients taking 15mg/day of risedronate for 1 year which resulted in a decrease in pain.

A larger study which used a lower dose of risedronate (5m/day or 15mg/day) did not find that risedronate either reduced pain or radiological progression of osteoarthritis.  However, further analysis revealed that larger doses (15mg/day or 50mg/week) preserved structural integrity of the subchondral bone in those with marked cartilage loss.


At this point, the latest research suggests that larger doses of risedronate are more effective (15mg/day vs. 5mg/day) at relieving osteoarthritic pain.

There is some evidence that larger doses of risedronate may have protective effects on knee joints in those with osteoarthritis. Further research is necessary.  Fore more information about arthritis treatment options, follow the link.


  1. Bingham CO 3rd, Buckland-Wright JC, Garnero P, Cohen SB, Dougados M, Adami S, Clauw DJ, Spector TD, Pelletier JP, Raynauld JP, Strand V, Simon LS, Meyer JM, Cline GA, Beary JF. Risedronate decreases biochemical markers of cartilage degradation but does not decrease symptoms or slow radiographic progression in patients with medial compartment osteoarthritis of the knee: results of the two-year multinational knee osteoarthritis structural arthritis study. Arthritis Rheum. 2006 Nov;54(11):3494-507.
  2. Fujita T, Ohue M, Fujii Y, Miyauchi A, Takagi Y.  Analgesic and chondroprotective effects of risedronate in osteoarthritis assessed by electroalgometry and measurement of collagen type II fragments in urine.  J Int Med Res. 2008 Sep-Oct;36(5):932-41.
  3. Iwamoto J, Takeda T, Sato Y, Matsumoto H.  Effects of risedronate on osteoarthritis of the knee.  Yonsei Med J. 2010 Mar 1;51(2):164-70. Epub 2010 Feb 12.

Written by 

Dr. Jarret Morrow, MD CCFP, is a licensed family physician currently practising in Edmonton, AB. He has a declared special interest in cosmetic dermatology.

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