Archive for the ‘Medications’ 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
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
Several patients have concerns about oral surgery while taking Prolia. This is not a problem – if you follow guidelines.
Prolia is different from other Antiresorptives. Prolia does not accumulate in bone. 5 to 6 months after your last dose, Prolia has lost its effect of slowing bone turnover. Therefore, it is safe to proceed with surgery on bone (including dental surgery) 6 months after your last dose.
Patients worry about OsteoNecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ), but this is very rare. In fact ONJ virtually never occurs without a tooth extraction or serious periodontal disease. Even then, it is rare unless you also have cancer, have poorly controlled diabetes, or are seriously Deficient in Vitamin D3, or Calcium, or Protein intake.
Elective Orthopedic Surgery timing is the same. If you need a Total Hip Replacement (THR) or Total Knee Replacement (TKR), schedule the surgery for 6 months after your last dose of Prolia.
Any time you plan to have surgery on bone, you should Optimize Your Bone Health First. Get a Complete Bone Health Evaluation. Optimize your Vitamin D level (at 40 to 80 ng/ml). Optimize your Calcium intake in foods and supplements combined (at 400 to 500 mg at all 3 meals daily). Optimize your daily Protein intake (1 g Protein for every kg body weight).
Sometimes you will also need the Anabolic, Forteo, to increase bone matrix and improve healing. More about that another time.
Get the best possible result from orthopedic or dental surgery. Wait 6 months after Prolia, and do your part to optimize your bone health.
Jay Ginther, MD