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Posts Tagged ‘Fragility Fracture’

Treat to Target #6 – Treatment

February 27, 2018 @ 7:07 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Our goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.  Therefore, Treat to Target means a FRAX score of <20% for “major osteoporotic” and <3% for hip fracture.  Alternately, T-score of better than -1.5 if there are any fractures.

Antiresorptives do not substantially increase bone mass or BMD.  While a 3-5% BMD improvement can be seen when a long term deficiency in calcium absorption is corrected, the function of an antiresorptive is to maintain current bone mass.

If you want to substantially increase bone mass, you must use an anabolic medication.  We now have 2.  Forteo (teriparatide) has been available for 15 years.  Tymlos (abaloparatide) was approved late last spring, but has only achieved good coverage by a majority of insurance companies in the last month.

Both can be given for up to 24 months.  Both must be followed by an antiresorptive to avoid loss of gains.  Both will show continued improvement in BMD for up to 3 years after switching to an antiresorptive because calcium takes up to 3 years to fully accumulate in new bone matrix formed by an anabolic.

Both should NOT be given to anyone with open growth plates, Paget’s, radiation to bone, cancers which have or could spread to bone, elevated bone specific alkaline phosphatase other than from fracture healing, or pregnant or nursing women.

Tymlos is approved for postmenopausal women only.  It does not stimulate bone turnover significantly and therefore shows faster BMD increase initially in the hip.  It has not been tested for use after antiresorptives.

Forteo is approved for men and women with osteoporosis which is “age-related”, or from steroid use, or from idiopathic hypogonadism.  Forteo significantly increases both osteoblast and osteoclast activity, thereby stimulating bone turnover, which is often suppressed after long-term antiresorptives.  Forteo is the default treatment for ONJ and AFF.

If you are dealing with vertebral fractures on VFA, or really low BMD on DXA, or with multiple fragility fractures, you need an ANABOLIC FIRST, to decrease fracture risk.  Then follow with antiresorptives to maintain a low enough fracture risk.

Remember, even these medications will fail without proper nutrition.

jay Ginther, MD

Treat to Target #5 – VFA

February 25, 2018 @ 7:45 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Treat to Target of NO NEW FRACTURES.  How do we find that target?  DXA >-2.5 is a start.  Fragility fractures increase new fracture risk.  FRAX adds many more risk factors to the calculation and TBS refines FRAX.

Vertebral Fracture Assessment (VFA) looks at the spine from the side and independently identifies additional fracture risk.  This can be done on a DXA machine or by x-ray.  A single vertebral compression fracture of 25% or more pre-empts DXA, BMD, and FRAX in diagnosing Clinical Osteoporosis and recommending treatment.

VFA should be done because the majority of vertebral compression fractures are first noticed by x-ray or DXA VFA imaging.  If you do not personally view the images, be sure the radiologist specifically checked for vertebral deformities as described by Genant.

I recently published my retrospective review of 1259 sequential first time VFA patients in Endocrine Practice 2017:23:1375-8. 

VFA identified many patients not identified as high fracture risk (Clinical Osteoporosis) by DXA or fragility fracture or height loss or kyphosis or FRAX.

We should consider including VFA in every first time Complete Bone Health Evaluation.

And how should we treat?  Next time…

Jay Ginther, MD

Treat to Target # 2 – Fragility Fracture

January 31, 2018 @ 8:23 pm
posted by Dr Ginther

Treat to Target means aiming for NO NEW FRACTURES.  As discussed last time, the original target was to maintain Bone Mineral Density (BMD) at the level first tested.  25 years ago that was amended to be a T-score of -2.4 or higher, since “osteoporosis the test result” was set at -2.5.

But what if you already have fractured?  Clinical Osteoporosis the diagnosis is a T-score of -1.5 plus a “Fragility Fracture” acquired in any fall from standing height, even on ice.  That is because for the first year after a fracture your risk is 5 times normal. Your risk decreases to 2 times normal after 5 years, but always is higher after a fragility fracture.

If your Fragility Fracture was a Hip Fracture, you have Clinical Osteoporosis regardless of DXA BMD and T-score.  You are at high risk of future fracture, especially of the other hip.  You should start treatment to prevent a new fracture.  At the very least you need to optimize calcium, vitamin D3, protein, and multiple vitamins & minerals intake.

If you also need a pharmaceutical, it should be one which can raise your T-score above -2.5 if you have no fractures, and above -1.5 if you already have a fracture.  That usually means considering an anabolic.  Your goal is NO NEW FRACTURES.

FRAX next time.

Jay Ginther, MD

“I want to treat my bone health entirely naturally – without any “artificial” medications.”  That might be possible if you are among the less than half of all women not destined to suffer one or more fragility fractures without medication.  Your odds are certainly better if you take all the measures outlined over the past weeks.

Years ago Osteoporosis was rarely a problem.  100 years ago most people died before age 65.  200 years ago most people died before age 40.  We live too long to avoid the natural decline in bone health.  (I would rather live long and deal with medications).

When I was in medical school (45 years ago) we lived entirely naturally in terms of bone health.  Most woman, and some men, became stooped forward with “humpback” kyphosis until they fell, broke a hip and either died or were shipped to a nursing home forever.  There was nothing we could do to prevent that.

Now we know a bunch of natural things we can do to postpone that scenario, but we cannot prevent it entirely in many people without adding medication.  Adding medication may be “cheating”, but I would rather stay active and enjoy life.

Take Control Naturally as long as you can, but evaluate your bone health periodically and add osteoporosis medication when your fracture risk rises.

Jay Ginther, MD