The effect of treatments for osteoporosis on mortality
The incidence of osteoporotic fractures increases exponentially in later life, in parallel with the progression of frailty and the risk of dying. Several pharmacologic therapies are now available that reduce the risk of fragility fractures. Data from observational studies report that osteoporotic fractures are associated with an increased risk of dying, particularly in the first few years after an event, and that, in osteoporotic populations, bisphosphonate therapy is associated with a reduced risk of death. Data emerging from randomised controlled trials suggest that drugs which significantly reduce fracture risk might also prolong survival in osteoporotic populations. Further research into the nature, magnitude and mechanisms of the effects of osteoporosis treatments on mortality is required, but in the interim, clinicians and their patients should consider the available data in their deliberations about the use of these medications.