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      Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

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      New England Journal of Medicine

      Massachusetts Medical Society

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          Abstract

          Key Clinical Points Postmenopausal Osteoporosis Fractures and osteoporosis are common, particularly among older women, and hip fractures can be devastating. Treatment is generally recommended in postmenopausal women who have a bone mineral density T score of -2.5 or less, a history of spine or hip fracture, or a Fracture Risk Assessment Tool (FRAX) score indicating increased fracture risk. Bisphosphonates (generic) and denosumab reduce the risk of hip, nonvertebral, and vertebral fractures; bisphosphonates are commonly used as first-line treatment in women who do not have contraindications. Teriparatide reduces the risk of nonvertebral and vertebral fractures. Osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femur fractures have been reported with treatment but are rare. The benefit-to-risk ratio for osteoporosis treatment is strongly positive for most women with osteoporosis. Because benefits are retained after discontinuation of alendronate or zoledronic acid, drug holidays after 5 years of alendronate therapy or 3 years of zoledronic acid therapy may be considered for patients at lower risk for fracture.

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          Most cited references 39

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          Effect of parathyroid hormone (1-34) on fractures and bone mineral density in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.

          Once-daily injections of parathyroid hormone or its amino-terminal fragments increase bone formation and bone mass without causing hypercalcemia, but their effects on fractures are unknown. We randomly assigned 1637 postmenopausal women with prior vertebral fractures to receive 20 or 40 microg of parathyroid hormone (1-34) or placebo, administered subcutaneously by the women daily. We obtained vertebral radiographs at base line and at the end of the study (median duration of observation, 21 months) and performed serial measurements of bone mass by dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. New vertebral fractures occurred in 14 percent of the women in the placebo group and in 5 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of the women in the 20-microg and 40-microg parathyroid hormone groups; the respective relative risks of fracture in the 20-microg and 40-microg groups, as compared with the placebo group, were 0.35 and 0.31 (95 percent confidence intervals, 0.22 to 0.55 and 0.19 to 0.50). New nonvertebral fragility fractures occurred in 6 percent of the women in the placebo group and in 3 percent of those in each parathyroid hormone group (relative risk, 0.47 and 0.46, respectively [95 percent confidence intervals, 0.25 to 0.88 and 0.25 to 0.861). As compared with placebo, the 20-microg and 40-microg doses of parathyroid hormone increased bone mineral density by 9 and 13 more percentage points in the lumbar spine and by 3 and 6 more percentage points in the femoral neck; the 40-microg dose decreased bone mineral density at the shaft of the radius by 2 more percentage points. Both doses increased total-body bone mineral by 2 to 4 more percentage points than did placebo. Parathyroid hormone had only minor side effects (occasional nausea and headache). Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis with parathyroid hormone (1-34) decreases the risk of vertebral and nonvertebral fractures; increases vertebral, femoral, and total-body bone mineral density; and is well tolerated. The 40-microg dose increased bone mineral density more than the 20-microg dose but had similar effects on the risk of fracture and was more likely to have side effects.
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            Atypical subtrochanteric and diaphyseal femoral fractures: second report of a task force of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

            Bisphosphonates (BPs) and denosumab reduce the risk of spine and nonspine fractures. Atypical femur fractures (AFFs) located in the subtrochanteric region and diaphysis of the femur have been reported in patients taking BPs and in patients on denosumab, but they also occur in patients with no exposure to these drugs. In this report, we review studies on the epidemiology, pathogenesis, and medical management of AFFs, published since 2010. This newer evidence suggests that AFFs are stress or insufficiency fractures. The original case definition was revised to highlight radiographic features that distinguish AFFs from ordinary osteoporotic femoral diaphyseal fractures and to provide guidance on the importance of their transverse orientation. The requirement that fractures be noncomminuted was relaxed to include minimal comminution. The periosteal stress reaction at the fracture site was changed from a minor to a major feature. The association with specific diseases and drug exposures was removed from the minor features, because it was considered that these associations should be sought rather than be included in the case definition. Studies with radiographic review consistently report significant associations between AFFs and BP use, although the strength of associations and magnitude of effect vary. Although the relative risk of patients with AFFs taking BPs is high, the absolute risk of AFFs in patients on BPs is low, ranging from 3.2 to 50 cases per 100,000 person-years. However, long-term use may be associated with higher risk (∼100 per 100,000 person-years). BPs localize in areas that are developing stress fractures; suppression of targeted intracortical remodeling at the site of an AFF could impair the processes by which stress fractures normally heal. When BPs are stopped, risk of an AFF may decline. Lower limb geometry and Asian ethnicity may contribute to the risk of AFFs. There is inconsistent evidence that teriparatide may advance healing of AFFs.
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              2010 clinical practice guidelines for the diagnosis and management of osteoporosis in Canada: summary.

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                New England Journal of Medicine
                N Engl J Med
                Massachusetts Medical Society
                0028-4793
                1533-4406
                January 21 2016
                January 21 2016
                : 374
                : 3
                : 254-262
                Article
                10.1056/NEJMcp1513724
                26789873
                fd9c7927-de2d-4b8b-a252-ecffa6ffdfc6
                © 2016
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