Strontium

View the Osteoporosis Slideshow Pictures

What other names is Strontium known by?

Atomic number 38, Chlorure de Strontium, Chlorure de Strontium-89, Citrate de Strontium, Estroncio, Gluconate de Strontium, Numéro Atomique 38, Ranélate de Strontium, Stable Strontium, Strontium Chloride, Strontium-89 Chloride, Strontium Citrate, Strontium Gluconate, Strontium Ranelate, Strontium Stable.

What is Strontium?

Strontium is a silvery metal found naturally as a non-radioactive element. About 99% of the strontium in the human body is concentrated in the bones.

Several different forms of strontium are used as medicine. Scientists are testing strontium ranelate to see if it can be taken by mouth to treat thinning bones (osteoporosis). Radioactive strontium-89 is given intravenously (by IV) for prostate cancer and advanced bone cancer. Strontium chloride hexahydrate is added to toothpaste to reduce pain in sensitive teeth.

Strontium chloride is the most common form of strontium found in dietary supplements. People use supplements for building bones. But there isn't much scientific information about the safety or effectiveness of strontium chloride when taken by mouth.

Effective for...

  • Bone pain related to bone cancer. Research shows that a special prescription form of strontium (strontium-89 chloride) given intravenously (by IV) reduces pain from metastatic bone cancer.
  • Sensitive teeth. Research shows that using strontium chloride with strontium acetate in toothpaste relieves pain in sensitive teeth. Brushing twice daily seems to work best.

Possibly Effective for...

  • Osteoporosis ("bone thinning"). Some evidence shows that taking strontium ranelate by mouth appears to reduce the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures and increase bone mass postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.
  • Prostate cancer. Some research shows that giving a special prescription form of strontium (strontium-89 chloride) intravenously (by IV) slows the growth of prostate cancer that is resistant to treatment and also relieves pain.

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

  • Osteoarthritis. Early research suggests that taking strontium ranelate by mouth for 3 years improves back pain and helps prevent spinal osteoarthritis from becoming worse in some postmenopausal women.
  • Dental cavities.
  • Other conditions.
More evidence is needed to rate the effectiveness of strontium for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Quick GuideWhat Is Osteoporosis? Treatment, Symptoms, Medication

What Is Osteoporosis? Treatment, Symptoms, Medication

How does Strontium work?

A special form of strontium called strontium ranelate can increase bone formation and prevent bone loss when used in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis. It's not known if strontium contained in dietary supplements has these effects.

A radioactive form of strontium may kill some cancer cells. This type of strontium is not available in dietary supplements.

There is some interest in using strontium for osteoarthritis because developing research suggests it might boost the formation of collagen and cartilage in joints.

There is also interest in studying strontium for preventing tooth decay because researchers have noticed fewer dental caries in some population groups who drink public water that contains relatively high levels of strontium.

Are there safety concerns?

Strontium is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth in amounts found in food. The typical diet includes 0.5 to 1.5 mg/day of strontium.

The prescription form of strontium known as strontium-89 chloride is also LIKELY SAFE when given intravenously (by IV) under the supervision of a healthcare provider.

Toothpastes (Sensodyne-SC) that contain strontium are also LIKELY SAFE and have received safety approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Taking another prescription form of strontium known as strontium ranelate by mouth for up to 56 months is POSSIBLY SAFE. Strontium ranelate might cause side effects such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and headache in some people.

Taking very high doses of strontium by mouth is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. High doses of strontium might damage the bones.

There's not enough information to know if the form of strontium contained in dietary supplements is safe.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Strontium is LIKELY SAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding when taken by mouth in food amounts or when used in toothpaste (Sensodyne-SC).

Strontium-89 is LIKELY UNSAFE during pregnancy and breast-feeding. It is a radioactive material that might harm the fetus. It may also pass into breast milk and could harm a nursing infant.

There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking strontium in greater amounts than found in foods or in supplements if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.

Paget's disease (a bone disease): The bones of people with Paget's disease seem to take up more strontium than normal. It's not known how important this finding is for health.

Kidney problems: Strontium is eliminated by the kidneys and can build up in people with poor kidney function. Use strontium supplements with caution if you have kidney disease. Strontium ranelate should not be used if kidney disease is advanced.

Blood clotting disorders: Strontium ranelate is associated with a small increased risk of blood clots. There is some concern that strontium might be more likely to cause blot clots in people with blood clotting disorders. It's best not to use strontium if you have a clotting disorder.

Are there any interactions with medications?



Antacids
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Antacids are used to decrease stomach acid. They can decrease strontium absorption. To avoid this interaction, take antacids at least two hours after taking strontium products.

Some antacids include calcium carbonate (Tums, others), dihydroxyaluminum sodium carbonate (Rolaids, others), magaldrate (Riopan), aluminum hydroxide (Amphojel), aluminum hydroxide/magnesium hydroxide combinations (Maalox, Mylanta, others), and others.



Antibiotics (Quinolone antibiotics)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Strontium can attach to some antibiotics called quinolones in the stomach. This decreases the amount of quinolones that can be absorbed. Taking strontium with quinolones might decrease their effectiveness. To avoid this interaction, take strontium at least 2 hours before or after taking quinolones.

Some quinolones include ciprofloxacin (Cipro), enoxacin (Penetrex), norfloxacin (Chibroxin, Noroxin), sparfloxacin (Zagam), and trovafloxacin (Trovan).



Antibiotics (Tetracycline antibiotics)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Strontium can attach to some antibiotics called tetracyclines in the stomach. This decreases the amount of tetracyclines that can be absorbed. Taking strontium with tetracyclines might decrease their effectiveness. To avoid this interaction, take strontium at least 2 hours before or after taking tetracyclines.

Some tetracyclines include demeclocycline (Declomycin), minocycline (Minocin), and tetracycline (Achromycin, and others).



Estrogens
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Estrogens might decrease how fast the body gets rid of strontium. This could cause the body to have too much strontium and potentially cause side effects.

Some estrogen pills include conjugated equine estrogens (Premarin), ethinyl estradiol, estradiol, and others.



Male hormones (Androgens)
Interaction Rating: Moderate Be cautious with this combination.
Talk with your health provider.

Male hormones (Androgens) might decrease how fast the body gets rid of strontium. This could cause the body to have too much strontium and potentially cause side effects.

Some male hormones include testosterone, nandrolone, oxandrolone, and oxymetholone.

Dosing considerations for Strontium.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

INTRAVENOUS:
  • Healthcare providers administer strontium by IV for bone pain due to advanced cancer.
FDA Logo

Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

Reviewed on 3/29/2011 12:35:40 PM

Health Solutions From Our Sponsors