New Guidelines for Osteoporosis Treatment

Healthcare professionals are recommended by the American College of Physicians to consider drug treatment for patients at risk for bone fractures due to osteoporosis or low bone density.

Healthcare professionals are recommended by the American College of Physicians (ACP) to consider drug treatment for patients at risk for bone fractures due to osteoporosis or low bone density.

The newest guidelines, “Pharmacologic Treatment of Low Bone Density or Osteoporosis to Prevent Fractures: A Clinical Practice Guideline from the American College of Physicians,” have been published in the most recent issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine. The recommendations are based on “Pharmacologic Treatment of Low Bone Density or Osteoporosis to Prevent Fracture in Men and Women,” a systematic review of other studies that was published earlier this year.

The ACP recommends that physicians offer “drug treatment to men and women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or a previous fracture not caused by substantial trauma. The guideline also recommends that doctors and their patients consider drug treatment to prevent fracture for men and women who are at risk of developing osteoporosis.”

Though there was no one particular drug recommended, bisphosphonates were found to be a reasonable option as a first-line therapy, especially for patients vulnerable for a hip fracture. Other available treatment options examined included estrogen therapy, calcitonin, and teriparatide. Physicians are however advised to make their decisions based on risk factors, potential benefits, and side effect profiles of available drugs.

These most recent guidelines come at the heels of the screening guidelines released this past May by the ACP, recommending that physicians “periodically assess the risk factors for osteoporosis in older men.” The guidelines called for clinicians to “obtain a DXA (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) scan for men who are at increased risk for osteoporosis and are candidates for drug therapy.”

For further information on the ACP’s drug treatment recommendations for patients at risk for bone fractures due to osteoporosis or low bone density, click here.