In vivo study on the pharmacological interactions between a chinese herbal formula ELP and antiresorptive drugs to counteract osteoporosis
Antiresorptive drugs, alendronate and raloxifene, are effective in lowering bone mineral density (BMD) loss in postmenopausal women. However, long-term treatment may be associated with serious side effects. Our research group has recently discovered that a Chinese herbal formula, ELP, could significantly reduce BMD loss in animal and human studies. Therefore, the present study aimed to investigate the potential synergistic bone-protective effects of different herb-drug combinations using ovariectomized rats. To assess the efficacy of different combinations, the total BMD was monitored biweekly in the 8-week course of daily oral treatment. Bone microarchitecture, bone strength, and deoxypyridinoline level were also determined after 8 weeks. From our results, coadministration of ELP and raloxifene increased the total tibial BMD by 5.26 (2.5 mg/kg/day of raloxifene; P = 0.014) and 5.94 (0.25 mg/kg/day of raloxifene; P = 0.026) when compared with the respective dosage groups with raloxifene alone. Similar synergistic effects were also observed in BMD increase at distal femur (0.25 mg/kg/day; P = 0.001) and reduction in urinary deoxypyridinoline crosslink excretion (2.5 and 0.25 mg/kg/day; both P = 0.02). However, such interactions could not be observed in all alendronate-treated groups. Our data provide first evidence that ELP could synergistically enhance the therapeutic effects of raloxifene, so that the clinical dosage of raloxifene could be reduced. © 2012 Chun-Hay Ko et al.