October 5, 2018
An NPR story aired on October 1, 2018 reported on findings published that day in the New England Journal of Medicine that showed Zoledronate safely prevented fractures in older women with osteopenia. The study was also presented at ASBMR’s Annual Meeting in Montréal. Former ASBMR Presidents Michael Econs, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Indiana School of Medicine and Clifford Rosen, M.D., an endocrinologist and physician at the Maine Medical Center, were quoted in the NPR story that focused solely on preventing fractures in elderly women with osteopenia.
What was missing from the story was the fact that we already know how to prevent fractures in people at the highest risk for them – men and women 65 years or older who have experienced a hip or vertebral fracture.
“This is indeed an important study for the field,” said Douglas P. Kiel, M.D., MPH, and past President of ASBMR, who serves as the Director of the Musculoskeletal Research Center at the Institute for Aging Research, Hebrew SeniorLife and a Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “But while this study shows how we can help many more women in the early stages of bone loss prevent painful fractures, we cannot forget the millions of osteoporosis patients who could benefit from this drug therapy yet go untreated in this country and worldwide. That’s why the nation’s leaders in bone health and bone research have called upon physicians to address this looming public health crisis by providing immediate osteoporosis treatment to all patients 65 and older who fracture their hip or spine.”
Dr. Kiel also co-chairs the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Secondary Fracture Prevention Initiative Coalition, a global coalition of top bone health researchers, physicians, and patient advocacy organizations which released on September 29, 2018, new clinical recommendations to tackle the public health crisis of the undertreatment of osteoporosis and debilitating and often deadly fractures caused by the disease.
“The facts are clear: women and men over the age of 65 years of age who fracture a bone are at a very high risk of breaking more bones and should be treated for osteoporosis,” said Sundeep Khosla, M.D., co-chair of the Coalition and past President of ASBMR, who serves as Director of the Center for Clinical and Translational Science at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. “It’s alarming that only 23 percent of elderly patients who suffer a hip fracture receive osteoporosis medication to reduce future fracture risk when the evidence shows that the benefits outweigh the risks. We now have a roadmap to help all doctors and patients understand what they need to be doing to prevent them.”