Review

Calcified Tissue International

, Volume 90, Issue 1, pp 1-13

FRAX® with and without Bone Mineral Density

  • John A. KanisAffiliated withWHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University of Sheffield Medical School Email author 
  • , Eugene McCloskeyAffiliated withWHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University of Sheffield Medical SchoolAcademic Unit of Bone Metabolism, Northern General Hospital
  • , Helena JohanssonAffiliated withWHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University of Sheffield Medical SchoolCentre for Bone Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg
  • , Anders OdenAffiliated withWHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases, University of Sheffield Medical SchoolCentre for Bone Research at the Sahlgrenska Academy, Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg
  • , William D. LeslieAffiliated withUniversity of Manitoba

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Abstract

The use of FRAX, particularly in the absence of BMD, has been the subject of some debate and is the focus of this review. The clinical risk factors used in FRAX have high validity as judged from an evidence-based assessment and identify a risk that is responsive to pharmaceutical intervention. Moreover, treatment effects, with the possible exception of alendronate, are not dependent on baseline BMD and strongly suggest that FRAX identifies high-risk patients who respond to pharmaceutical interventions. In addition, the selection of high-risk individuals with FRAX, without knowledge of BMD, preferentially selects for low BMD. The prediction of fractures with the use of clinical risk factors alone in FRAX is comparable to the use of BMD alone to predict fractures and is suitable, therefore, in the many countries where DXA facilities are sparse. In countries where access to BMD is greater, FRAX can be used without BMD in the majority of cases and BMD tests reserved for those close to a probability-based intervention threshold. Whereas the efficacy for agents to reduce fracture risk has not been tested prospectively in randomized controlled trials in patients selected on the basis of FRAX probabilities, there is compelling evidence that FRAX with or without the use of BMD provides a well-validated instrument for targeting patients most likely to benefit from an intervention.

Keywords

FRAX Fracture probability Clinical risk factor Intervention threshold Risk assessment