Another Trick for Nitroglycerin

Post-menopausal women can enhance their bone density with nitroglycerin

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Brittle bones make for an uneasy existence for many older women. A slip on a curb, or a bump on the shin from a grandchild’s tricycle, could lead to a far more serious injury than a little black and blue spot and some muscle soreness.

While several drug therapies are available to remedy the loss of bone density in postmenopausal women, the curiosity of some researchers to find a less expensive alternative turned the medical world’s eyes toward nitrogylcerin ointment.

"Nitrogylcerin ointment improves bone density."

Popularly known in the treatment of heart conditions and used to dilate blood vessels, researcher Sophie Jamal, MD, Department of Medicine at the University of Toronto and her colleagues discovered that nighttime application of nitroglycerin ointment moderately increased women’s bone density. After a two year study with this remedy, researcher also noted a decrease in bone resorption.

The Study

  • Involved 243 postmenopausal women who applied either a placebo cream or nitroglycerin ointment at bedtime for 24 months
  • Nitroglycerin known to stimulate bone density
  • Affect on bone structure, density and strength unknown
  • Double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trial performed
  • 35 percent of the postmenopausal women using nitroglycerin experienced headaches the first month of the study, but most headaches stopped at the midpoint of the study
  • Real bone mass density (BMD) significantly increased at the lumbar spine, femoral neck, and total hip areas
  • Testing was conducted randomly from November 2005 to March 2010
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 11, 2011
Last Updated:
May 26, 2011