Advances in therapy for osteoporosis.

Robert P. Heaney

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


The current status of detection and treatment of osteoporosis is reviewed. Despite substantial advances in the past ten years, most patients with osteoporotic fractures are still not being treated for the underlying bony cause of the fracture, and most people at risk for fracture are not being offered known protective regimens. The foundation of any therapeutic program is adequate nutrition--specifically protein, calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Current anti-resorptive agents reduce vertebral fracture risk by 30% to 50% and teriparatide, a newly approved anabolic agent, reduces risk by up to 80+%. Effective treatments for chronic bony pain that occurs in some patients with spine fractures is affored by two minimally invasive procedures, kyphoplasty and vertebroplasty. Some of these chronically painful fractures represent instances of previously unrecognized non-union, and in them low-pressure vertebroplasty produces prompt and lasting relief. Fracture risk reductions with current anti-resorptive agents are at least twice as great as can be explained by drug effects on bone mass. Moreover, risk is reduced within a few months of starting therapy. These observations focus attention on bone remodeling and point to the need for improvement of biomarker technology, since it seems likely that reduction in remodeling activity underlies much of the fracture risk reduction and can therefore be used to monitor therapy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)93-99
Number of pages7
JournalClinical medicine & research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2003

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Community and Home Care


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