Fracture Assessment Tools Underutilized, Study Shows

Sep 19, 2016

Using the fracture assessment tool with older, community-dwelling women can help reduce their risk of hip fracture over time, study shows.

Using the fracture assessment tool with older, community-dwelling women can help reduce their risk of hip fracture over time, according to a randomized controlled trial.

Currently, although the cost of fractures is high for both society and individuals, the use of fracture risk tools to identify at-risk patients - and potentially stave off future fractures - is relatively low. The FRAX assessment tool identifies high-risk individuals in primary care environments in an effort to reduce fracture incidence.

The FRAX study was developed by the World Health Organization to evaluate fracture risk based on individual patient models that integrate risk associated with clinical risk factors, as well as bone mineral density at the femoral neck. The FRAX algorithms provide a 10-year fracture probability.

In fact, according to a 2010 study, the National Osteoporosis Foundation Guide recommends treating patients who have a FRAX 10-year score of ≥3 percent for hip fractures or ≥ 20 percent for major osteoporotic fractures to reduce future fracture risks.

In a Sept. 19, presentation at the 2016 American Society of Bone Mineral Research conference, lead author E.V. McCloskey, M.D., from the University of Sheffield in the United Kingdom, discussed a five-year, two-arm study into the efficacy of using the FRAX tool to pinpoint women with osteoporosis who are also at high fracture risk in the community.

Of the 12,483 women identified in primary care environments, 6,233 were randomized into the study’s screening arm. In that group, 898 women (14.4 percent) were identified as high risk using the FRAX tool. By the end of the first year, exposure to osteoporosis medication was higher in the screening group compared to the control group – 15.3 percent versus 4.5 percent, respectively. High treatment uptake occurred in the high-risk group (78.3 percent) at six months.

Results showed the incidence of major osteoporosis fractures – comprising hip, waist, humerus, and clinical vertebral fractures - reduced by 12 percent (2 percent to 21 percent, p=0.018). Screening was associated with a significant reduction in hip fractures (RRR 27 percent, 10 percent – 41 percent, p=0.003).

Based on these findings, researchers wrote, a systematic, community-based screening fracture risk program that uses the FRAX tool in older women can be both feasible and effective in lowering hip fracture risk.

 

References:

American Society of Bone Mineral Research 2016, Abstract 1125:  “Screening based on FRAX fracture risk assessment reduces the incidence of hip fracture in older community-dwelling women – results from the SCOOP study in the UK,” E.V. McCloskey, M.D. Sept. 19, 2016.

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