Strontium instead of bisphosphonates?

Just wondering if anyone has experience of taking Strontium Ranelate instead of bisphosphonates for bone strengthening.

I have ostoepenia in my spine from taking aromasin, but fosamax and actonel have given me ulcers in my oesophagus, so bisphosphanates are no longer an option. My Gp said strontium might be the answer. I know it’s unlikely, but has anyone tried it? Or can suggest another alternative?


Hi Ellie, I have osteoporosis in my spine and went to see a nutrionalist doctor who recommended Strontium. I’m actually not taking anything except a Calcium and Vit D tablet at the moment. I don’t fancy bisphosphonates much although you can have an an injection of them called Zometa instead of swallowing them.

When my bone scan is done this year and it looks worse I will probably give the Strontium a go!


Hi Grace,
Thanks for your message. I did ask my GP about injected bisphosphonates, but she said they could have the same side effects as tablets. I’m not sure how that happens - just something else I’ll have to look into.

I’ve had a quick look on the National Osteoporosis Soc website, and I don’t really understand why bisphosphonates are given in preference to strontium. Anyway I’ll see what I can find out - and let you know!


Hi Ellie - wil be really interested in your strontium research - I have just stopped Arimidex due to bone joint pains, but wonder if they are due to bisphosphonates. Pain has really reduced in the last 4 weeks since stopping Arimidex. Going to get a referral to an Oncologist to find an alternative.

It is important that you speak with your medical team including your oncologist about your bone health as this is treatment which is very much individual.

Below I have included the link to the NICE (National Institute for Clinical Excellence) page about Osteoporosis and treatment including strontium ranelate which may offer you some more information.

The difficulty in using these drugs in women being treated for breast cancer is that they have not been tested for safety or efficacy along side breast cancer treatments.

However with bisphosphonates the evidence is becoming much clearer as they are used along side other breast cancer treatments.

If you would like to talk more about your own concerns please do call our helpline on 0808 800 6000, and they will be happy to talk through your options for treatment with you.

Clinical Nurse Specialist

Hi Tara,
Thanks for the link, which is very useful. It made me realise that this is beyond me, and I’ve made an appointment to see my oncologist!

Ellie - can I join your club? I am in the realms of beyond too! Various bone scans and DEXA scans have confirmed I have bone density loss (most likely due to 30+ years of steroids and exacerbated by Arimidex) and osteo -arthritis. Latter probably ageing, as I am 63 yrs young now.
Interesting Elliem when my bc surgeon prescribed Alendronic Acid to my GP, he said most people struggle with these drugs, but although I have Crohn’s, I have not had any problems with them in my GI tract - and know my Crohn’s is from the mouth to the anus.

Tara, thanks for your response . I ask myself, “what medical team?” I have a gastroenterologist, youngish, on his first consultancy, who said verbatim, when I got bc, 2 days after my first consultation with him (had already got Crohn’s for some 30 yrs), “I can’t interfere with your bc treatment - that is life threatening, Crohn’s is not”. I was discharged by 2nd Oncologist after chemo and rads, and only saw my bc surgeon annually for the past 5 years… Onc retired last year, my bc nurse also retired , and all I really have now are 2 IBD specialist nurses to go to for help. Thankfully, they are brilliant.

I stopped Arimidex 3 weeks ago, due to severe hip, feet and hand pain…and am feeling so much better, although feel very nauseous, and haven’t eaten a proper meal in the last week. Is this withdrawal symptoms? I have lost 9 lbs this week. Luckily, I don’t wake up every 2 hours nnow with the pain in my left hip and can walk a bit farther without pain in my left foot. I had a bone scan 2 yrs ago, dx arthritis of both hips, feet and hands, a DEXA scan that showed low bone density so put on bisphops, Alendronic Acid, so wondered which drug was causing the problems. Have an appointment next week with to ask for a referral to a new Oncologist, who is up to date with bc and IBD, recommended by my gastro. I had 2 months of tamoxifen, when on rads, then 4 yrs of Arimidex, but obviously concerned about bc recurrence as my cancer had spread to my lymph nodes, and was non palpable. It is a minefield for me to navigate at the moment. I am also on weekly chemo, methotrexate for Crohn’s, but liver tests are good, although MCV and MCH blood levels are out of range.

Sometimes, I feel mired in the mud of breast cancer and struggling to find my way out. None of my doctors seem to talk to each other - they each have their own specialities and seems nether the twain shall meet. I would love to crack their heads together.

Off to bed, late and tired…praying for a solution as to what meds I should take. Feel like being between the devil and the deep blue sea at the moment.

Hi - had a gastroscopy last week (most likely a Crohn’s flare) which showed oesophagitis. Gastro did some biopsies and sent them to pathology. I wondered to him if the alendronic acid could have caused the ulceration - he didn’t know but said to ask my GP for an injectable bisphosphonate. Off to see her this morning as got bigger problems - strictures and inflammation in my small intestine, so gastro has doubled my weekly injections of methotrexate,plus a steroid, budesonide and prescribed an elemental diet (Fortijuice) to try and get some nourishment as I can’t eat, weight now down to 7st 3 lbs. He said we must get the inflammation under control first,put some weight on and then time for surgery on the strictures.
Breast cancer, for me at least, is duck soup compared to sorting out Crohn’s.
Where is that silver cloud, eh?


The National Osteoporosis Society should have useful info about the strontium medication, also bisphosphonates - its quarterly newsletter even mentiones bc sometimes. A good resource for all of us who are “bone aware” for whatever reason.

Many thanks Mrs Blue - I really feel I need some kind bone strengthening med as I fractured a metatarsal bone in my left foot last year, just got it healed when I broke a toe bone in the other foot. Bit concerned if I fall again, it will be a hip and I could do without that at the moment as I try to sort out my Crohn’s.
Thanks to all of you for your advice - think I will ask my GP for Zometa. Wish I had an Oncologist - the other GP recently wrote to a new one I found (previous one retired last year but hadn’t seen him since finishing chemo and rads 4 yrs ago) asking for “advice” on another aromatose inhibitor, when I wanted a consultation.Anyway, got another AI, aromasin and will see if I get the same side effects as Arimidex, bad bone pains in hips,hands and feet. Will see what this female GP says today as I don’t think GP’s should be prescribing drugs for people with bc and Crohn’s unless a consultant prescribes them. Being a bit too picky am I?


Hi Liz,
I tried sending you a pm a while ago - but I’m not sure I’d got the hang of it!
I started taking Strontium (called Protelos) a couple of weeks ago, okayed by my onc and prescribed by GP, instead of bisphosphonates. There are lots of ‘possible’ side effects. My GP went through them in great detail! Hope you get sorted with Zometa, but let me know if you want more info on strontium.