Archive for the ‘Medications’ Category
Clinical Osteoporosis 2017, NOF and ISCD joint meeting had a different emphasis this year. Fracture Risk, rather than Bone Mineral Density (BMD) is now the key metric. Several speakers emphasizd the importance of VFA in making the diagnosis of Clinical Osteoporosis. This is something I have presented in poster exhibits 2015, 2016 and 2017. I am now mainstream!
“Treat to Target” was the big new message this year. We should set a target of decreased Fracture Risk for each patient and alter treatment until we reach it. This has been routine for years in diabetes, hypertension, cholesterol, etc. This is recognition that Osteoporosis is a chronic disease that we can control, but never cure, just like many others.
Take Control Naturally is the necessary first step, as I have outlined over the last few months. This is often sufficient for prevention and in mild disease.
Advanced Osteoporosis, especially after fragility fractures, or vertebral compression fractures seen on VFA, is usually beyond nutrition and exercise only. This will usually require medications to significantly reduce fracture risk.
The huge change is the recommendation to use an Anabolic medication first, to markedly reduce fracture risk, when BMD is very low or multiple fractures have already occured. Then follow up with an Antiresorptive to maintain a low fracture risk. Traditionally Medicare and other insurances have demanded we try Antiresorptives first to maintain bone as it is, even when multiple fractures have proven the bone to NOT be good enough at curent BMD.
We are entering a new age of Fracture Prevention!!
Jay Ginther, MD
Recent studies have shown that the order in which we use osteoporosis medications matters. Traditionally most docs have used Antirsorptives first to preserve bone. All osteoporosis medications except one are Antiresorptives. Only when that failed, would they consider the Anabolic medication, Forteo, to build new bone.
As a practicing orthopedic surgeon, I started treating osteoporosis in the worst of my fracture patients. It was obvious that they needed to build bone first since there was very little bone to preserve. Therefore, I usually started with the Anabolic, Forteo. Once I had built up the bone, I preserved that improved bone with an Antiresorptive osteoporosis medication.
As the National and International Osteoporosis Foundations, (NOF and IOF) are now focusing on preventing second fractures, many more practioners are treating patients with one or more fractures. They are facing the dillema of how to prevent fractures in bone that is not good enough. None of the Antiresorptives work as well in patients with multiple fractures as they do in patients who have not yet fractured.
This year studies have shown that using Forteo after an Antiresorptive usually results in Forteo taking several months to overcome the previous slowing of bone turnover, Therefore, 2 years of Forteo results in less improvement when used AFTER the Antiresorptives tested, than we normally see in a patient who uses Forteo first.
At NOF and IOF this year speakers suggested that we change our approach. They suggested using an Anabolic first, and an Antiresorptive second should be the standard sequence for best results.
Would you rather only trying to preserve your bones after they have proven insufficient in multiple fractures? Or would you want to improve your bone first, and then prserve that improved bone matrix and improving BMD?
Do everything you can to improve and preserve your Bone Health.
Jay Ginther, MD
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