Archive for the ‘Osteoporosis’ Category
Patients, Primary Care Docs, and Orthopedic Surgeons all worry about bone surgery while on Osteoporosis Medications. They also worry about Atypical Fractures of the Femur (AFF). There is one medication that actually helps bone healing and is routinely used to treat AFF. That is the Anabolic, Forteo.
Atypical Fracture of the Femur is quite rare. AFF has become less rare since we started treating osteoporosis with Antiresorptive Osteoporosis Medications. Typical Femur Fractures are still about 100 times as common – and we can prevent over half of those with Antiresorptive Osteoporosis Medications.
AFF is a Stress Fracture, usually just below the hip, that starts on the lateral side of the Femur. It is a small crack, which can gradually spread across the bone.
The best treatment for a stress fracture is stimulating the cells that make new bone (OsteoBlasts) and also stimulating the cells that gobble up bone (OsteoClasts). This increases bone turnover, which is needed for healing a fracture, especially a stress fracture.
Forteo is the only Anabolic we currently have in the USA. Forteo is routinely used to treat AFF before, as well as after, the fracture. It is also used to treat other stress fractures such as metatarsals in the feet and “shin splints” in the proximal shaft of tibia.
Forteo is also commonly used to enhance healing in osteoporotic patients in spine fusions and in total joint replacement.
Jay Ginther, MD
You have started taking Osteoporosis Medication. You think you have entirely eliminated your Fracture Risk. Then, WHAM – you have a Fracture! What went wrong?
It is time to re-evaluate. There are many possible reasons for your fracture.
First, all osteoporosis medications gradually become effective over months. Therefore, if you fracture within the first few months, there has not been enough time for it to become fully effective.
By two to three years, all osteoporosis medications Decrease Fracture Risk by 1/2 to 2/3. That is very good, but not perfect.
Second, you need to be sure you are getting enough Absorbable Calcium in 3 doses of 400-500 mg In Foods or With Foods – every day. You need to have a high enough Vitamin D level to absorb the Calcium. You need Magnesium too – a Multiple Vitamin and Mineral (taken with a full meal) should be enough. You also need Protein (1gram per kg of body weight). If you had Secondary HyperParathyroidism, it must be resolved.
Third, Bisphosphonate pills are sometimes not absorbed adequately. When they work, we actually absorb less than 1% of the drug taken. If this is a problem, Reclast or Prolia can get around the absorption issue. Of course, skipped doses do not work at all.
Fourth, there may be other issues causing fragility. A Complete Bone Health Evaluation will usually identify Diabetes, HypoThyroidism, Colitis, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Lactose or Gluten sensitivities, etc. These need to be fixed too.
Finally, your Osteoporosis may be too severe to be ideally treated with Antiresorptives. Very low BMD and T-scores, multiple Fragility Fractures, Vertebral Fracture Deformities (especially multiple) are all indications that you probably should start with the Anabolic, Forteo, to build up your Bone Matrix enough that a Antiresorptive can then be the best treatment.
Fracture while on medication? Time to re-evaluate. Then modify your program if needed.
Jay Ginther, MD
Patients with poorly controlled Diabetes and high blood sugar levels often have bone with above average Bone Mineral Density (BMD). This is good? WRONG !!
High blood sugars lead to glycolization of the Bone Matrix, which is the protein part of the bone – collagen. This means that glucose (sugar) molecules are incorporated into the collagen protein chains. This distorts and stiffens the Bone Matrix.
Normally, stiffer is better, Calcium stiffens the bone matrix, which strengthens the bone. But too much of a good thing is bad. Too stiff becomes brittle. Brittle bones break more easily than “stiff enough” bones.
Persons with diabetes who routinely run high blood sugars fracture more easily than non-diabetics. Therefore, at the same BMD and T-score, diabetics have a higher Fracture Risk.
We knew that high blood sugars in diabetics are bad for kidneys, eyes and nerves. Now we know that high blood sugars in diabetics are bad for bones too.
Take Control of Your Future. If you have diabetes, work with your primary doc to get your blood sugars under control.
Jay Ginther, MD
Dentists and Oral Surgeons are sometimes wary of their patients being on ANY Osteoporosis Medications when they undergo tooth extractions or other dental proceedures. One osteoporosis medication is different from all the others. Forteo is the only Anabolic medication currently available in the USA. Forteo does not cause dental and jaw problems. Forteo can be used to treat ONJ and other bone problems of the jaw.
OsteoNecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) is a rare complication of tooth extraction. If you have cancer, are on chemotherapy, have uncontrolled diabetes, or are on the higher doses of Antiresorptive Osteoporosis Medications used in Cancer Patients with Metastases, ONJ is less rare.
ONJ is the result of too slow bone repair by the OsteoBlasts (the cells that make new bone matrix). Antiresorptive medications slow down both OsteoClasts (the cells that resorb bone) and OsteoBlasts.
Forteo cannot cause ONJ. Forteo (Teriparatide) stimulates OsteoBlasts. That increases new bone matrix formation. Therefore, Forteo can prevent and treat ONJ.
Forteo has been shown to improve bone healing in dental surgery, including implant osseointegration and healing alveolar defects. Ref: Batshutski JD, Eber RM, Kinney JS, et al. Teriparatide and osseous regeneration in the oral cavity. N Engl J Med. 2010, 363:2396-2405. Ref: Kuchler U, Luvizuto ER, Tangl S, et al. Short-term Teriparatide delivery and osseointegration: a clinical feasibility study. J Dent R. 2011:90(8):1001-1006.
As a former orthopedic surgeon, I have discussed these issues with several of our local oral surgeons and dentists.
If you are facing oral surgery or tooth extraction, discuss your osteoporosis medications with your dental surgeon. Most osteoporosis medications should be held for your surgery. Forteo is the exception. Forteo actually helps your jaw heal after dental surgery.
Jay Ginther, MD