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The high rate of osteoporotic fracture in Western populations has resulted in a significant burden in terms of morbidity, mortality and health care costs. The use of DXA has made the diagnosis of osteoporosis easier and identified a subgroup of individuals who are at a higher risk of fracture. It is a useful tool in determining therapy in those at greatest risk of fracture. However, widespread use of such treatments is low and greater uptake remains an elusive goal. There are now many different treatments that reduce fracture rate, and can accompany lifestyle measures such as smoking cessation, diet and exercise. Dietary supplementation with calcium has been shown to reduce the risk of vertebral fracture, and the combination of calcium with vitamin D has been shown to reduce fracture at non-vertebral sites, including the hip. Although ERT, SERMs and tibolone all retard bone loss, prospective fracture prevention has only been shown for SERMs and then only at the spine. Bisphosphonates represent a class of potent anti-resorptive agents, which have been shown to reduce fracture rate at vertebral and non-vertebral sites. Other agents such as calcitonin, PTH and fluoride are of less certain benefit in preventing fracture.

Original publication




Journal article


Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol

Publication Date





497 - 515


Fractures, Bone, Humans, Osteoporosis