Treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis: a literature-based algorithm for use in the public health care system

Publication date: Available online 15 February 2017
Source:Revista Brasileira de Reumatologia (English Edition)

Author(s): Ellen Luz Pereira Caires, Mailze Campos Bezerra, Ana Flávia Torquato de Araújo Junqueira, Sheila Márcia de Araújo Fontenele, Silvana Cristina de Albuquerque Andrade, Catarina Brasil d’Alva

Bisphosphonates are considered first-line agents in the treatment of postmenopausal osteoporosis based on extensive experience of use, safety, and proven efficacy in reducing vertebral, non-vertebral and femur fractures. However, post-marketing reports based on the treatment of millions of patients/year over lengthy periods of time have revealed the occurrence of initially unexpected adverse effects, such as osteonecrosis of the jaw and atypical femoral fracture, leading to the restriction of treatment duration with bisphosphonates by global regulatory agencies. However, despite the association between these effects and bisphosphonates, this risk should be analyzed in the context of osteoporosis treatment, alongside the benefit of preventing osteoporotic fractures and their clinical consequences. Therefore, we consider it plausible to discuss the restriction to the use of bisphosphonates, possible indications for prolonged treatment and alternative therapies following the suspension of this drug class for patients with persistent high risk of fracture after initial treatment, especially considering the problems of public health funding in Brazil and the shortage of drugs provided by the government. Thus, to standardize the treatment of osteoporosis in the public health care system, we aim to develop a proposal for a scientifically-based pharmacological treatment for postmenopausal osteoporosis, establishing criteria for indication and allowing the rational use of each pharmacological agent. We discuss the duration of the initial bisphosphonate treatment, the therapeutic options for refractory patients and potential indications of other classes of drugs as first-choice treatment in the sphere of public health, in which assessing risk and cost effectiveness is a priority.

Comments are closed.