Atypical Fracture of the Femur (AFF) and OsteoNecrosis of the Jaw (ONJ) are rare complications of Untreated Osteoporosis.  They also occcur rarely in patients treated with long term Antiresorptives including: Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Allendronate, Ibandronate, Atelvia, Reclast, and Prolia, at a higher, but still very low, rate.  Neither has been reported in Evista.  Forteo is commonly used as a treatment for AFF and ONJ.

AFF and ONJ are rare even in patients treated for Osteoporosis with Antiresorptive medications.  Rates are estimated at between 1 in 1,000 and 1 in 10,000.  Let’s label AFF (X),  ONJ (Z), and patients with neither (O).  Here is a graphic representation, if the worst case estimate is correct:

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOXOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOZOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

These are very rare problems, even in patients on Antiresorptive Osteoporosis Medications for over 5 years.  Fractures from Osteoporosis in patients Not taking Medications are much more common.  That Graphic next time.

Jay Ginther, MD

“Baby-Boomers” Should Check Their Bones

June 6, 2014 @ 6:26 am
posted by Dr Ginther

A patient had no idea why her doc sent her to me for a Complete Bone Health Evaluation.  As a “baby-boomer”, she lives by the motto: “You are only as old as you choose to be.”  And she chooses to remain young.  If only it were possible…..

“I can’t have Osteoporosis.  I used to drink milk.  I am active and I plan to stay active!!!  So I just can’t have Osteoporosis!”  Unfortunately, she does have Osteoporosis by BMD on her DXA, by the multiple Vertebral Fractures on VFA, and by FRAX.  Still, there are simple steps to rescue her Bone Health before she Fractures.

Match Medications to Your Needs

June 3, 2014 @ 6:48 am
posted by Dr Ginther

Are your bones still good enough and just need to be maintained?  Or have you fractured several times and need to rebuild your bones?  Are Steroid Inhalers supressing your Osteoblasts – the cells that build new bone?  (not good)  Or have your Osteoclasts – the cells that eat away bone – gone wild (even worse) now that you are post-menopausal or an older guy?

Different problems require different classes of medication.  Bisphosphonates, Hormone Replacement Therapy, Synthetic Estrogen Receptor Modifier – Evista, and RANK-Ligand Antibody – Prolia, are all Antiresorptives, which act in different ways.  They slow down the Osteoclasts that have gone wild and are eating up the bone.  The Anabolic, Forteo, stimulates the Osteoblasts that make new bone matrix.  Antiresorptive and Anabolic are radically diferent actions.

Sometimes We Need Medications

May 30, 2014 @ 5:23 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Patients who have already fractured may need osteoporosis medications.  Adding fractures to a low BMD or T-score on DXA makes the Clinical Osteoporosis more severe and increases Fracture Risk.  This is true of vertebral fractures detected on VFA, as well as clinically obvious fractures, like hip or wrist or shoulder.

Fracture Risk is the big deal.  Fractures are what we want to avoid.  Having suffered one fracture makes a Second Fracture 3 to 5 times as likely as the first.  Bummer.  Calcium, Vitamin D, Protein, Multivits and Exercise alone often cannot overcome those odds.  Real bummer.  Adding a medication often can avoid the Second Fracture.