Summary: Despite the availability of efficient drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures, only a minority of women receives osteoporosis therapy after a fracture. The high treatment gap in our cohort consisted of unselected volunteer patients highlights the urgent need of additional education, especially for the medical profession, regarding the risk-benefit balance of treatment.
Introduction: Despite the availability of efficient drugs to prevent osteoporotic fractures, only a minority of women receives osteoporosis therapy after a fracture, with a treatment gap around 80%. This can have dramatic consequences for patients and the healthcare systems.
Methods: In this study based on longitudinal data from the FRISBEE (Fracture RIsk Brussels Epidemiological Enquiry) cohort of 3560 volunteer women aged 60 to 85 years, we evaluated the 1-year treatment gap after a first major incident fragility fracture.
Results: There were 386 first validated fragility fractures, 285 major osteoporotic fractures (MOF) and 101 “other major” fractures. The rate of untreated patients was 85.0% (82.8% for MOF versus 91.0 % for “other major” fracture sites) (p = 0.04), with a lower rate for spine (70.5%) and hip (72.5%) versus shoulder (91.6%) and wrist (94.1%) (p < 0.0001). More specifically, the treatment gap for patients with osteoporosis, defined by a T-score < − 2.5 SD was 74.6% versus 76.5% for patients with osteoporosis defined by the presence of hip, shoulder, or spine fractures, independently of DXA results. When considering age groups, the rate of untreated women was 87.9% for women 60–70 years old, 88.2% between 70 and 80 years and 77.8% above 80 years (p = 0.03), with a greater difference between women who were younger or older than 80 years at inclusion: 88.1% versus 77.8% (p = 0.009). A diagnosis of osteoporosis (p = 0.01) and age (p = 0.03) were the only clinical risk factors (CRFs) significantly associated with treatment initiation.
Conclusions: This study highlights the urgent need of additional education, especially for the medical profession, regarding the risk-benefit balance of treatment.
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