Osteoporosis is a major public health concern affecting approximately 10 million U.S. adults over the age of 50, according to statistics from the International Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis can only be treated after the first clinical fracture, which is usually the initial complaint of people living with the disease.
However, recent studies suggest that incoming therapies for osteoporosis may be the key to making such treatments safer and readily accessible to the general population. In fact, the Journal of Clinical Medicine claims that oral bisphosphonates are the current first-line treatments for osteoporosis.
New Discovery For Osteoporosis Treatments
Our bones are continuously being broken down by bone cells and built together again: that’s how our bones are able to grow longer and stronger, and also the reason our bones can heal on their own after a fracture.
But with osteoporosis, the bone develops a honeycomb-like appearance under the microscope due to irregular bone metabolism. These osteoporotic bones are less dense and contain less mass, which makes them weaker and more prone to fractures. Postmenopausal women over 50 years old are at a higher risk than others.
Medications that are usually prescribed consist of bisphosphonates, which help in the regulation of bone metabolism, and antibody therapy for immune causes. Anabolic therapies also show a promising future: osteoanabolic agents have been shown to slow the development of osteoporosis and protect the bone, although they are not yet widely available as a treatment.
Total Bisphosphonate Exposure Therapy
Treatment with osteoporosis medications has dropped significantly over the past decade from 15% to 8%, according to a study published in the Endocrine Society. However, Bisphosphonates have been proven to be effective in treatments, with increased exposure for six to twelve months.
In fact, following five consecutive treatment sessions before starting a drug holiday is effective, according to results from the HORIZON and FLEX trials. Studies have also suggested that patients may start their drug holidays as early as five years prior to beginning their bisphosphonate treatment. However, there is still not enough evidence to provide a higher success rate when linked with Total Bisphosphonate Exposure.
Risk Of Second Fracture Is Greater without Treatment
Medical experts recommend immediate osteoporosis treatment and evaluation after a fracture. According to Sara Cromer, M.D., an endocrinologist fellow at Massachusetts General Hospital, this is comparable to giving no medications for lowering blood pressure after a heart attack. The decrease in treatment may be due to osteoporosis being overlooked as a diagnosis even in patients’ experiencing osteoporotic-like fractures.
According to Cromer, a fracture of the hip can be fatal, with 25% of patients succumbing to complications within a year, and the risk of a second fracture is always higher without proper osteoporosis medications and therapy.
Medical experts in the orthopedic community have campaigned and encouraged patients over the age of 50 years old to maintain regular check-ups with their healthcare provider. This is in order to decrease the risks of osteoporosis or other common bone disorders that may develop at a later age.
After all, the benefits of optimal treatment are essential in providing a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the risk of future complications.