A recent report from the International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) for World Osteoporosis Day, "Capture the Fracture – a global campaign to break the fragility fracture cycle," illustrates the care gap for millions of osteoporosis patients who continue to go undiagnosed for treatment or without assessment falls risk. This negligence of care may be an indicator of other cases of osteoporosis complications such as one case that may have resulted from undiagnosed treatment complications in which this woman lost her suit in a Fosamax ONJ trial.
Judy Stenmark, IOF CEO, stated that adults who have experienced their first bone fragility fracture – usually in the wrist or spinal vertebrae – are at twice the risk of having a fracture compared to those who haven’t had a fracture yet. Due to the lack of adequate follow-up assessment, this serious indicator of osteoporosis and high fracture risk remains undiagnosed as only two out of 10 fracture patients were screened and tested for osteoporosis and falls risk.
The IOF report even provides samples and suggestions of successfully implemented multidisciplinary models of coordinator-based post-fracture care that are currently being utilized in health care facilities around the world. In addition to the effectiveness for providing treatment and care for osteoporosis patients in reducing secondary fractures, the IOF also noted the cost-effectiveness of these models where budgetary concerns were involved.
Fractures due to osteoporosis are great burdens on society and families as a whole. The large-scale suffering and disability it brings causes long-term consequences for a patient’s quality of life and ability to live independently. The health and economic costs are exorbitant where in Italy alone over 1.5 billion euros are spent on the surgical treatment and initial rehabilitation of patients aged 65 and above. This relatively modest estimate does not account for additional costs resulting from disability and subsequent need for specialized care facilities. Among those excluded from this estimate are those who suffer vertebral fractures of whom 80 percent have not come to clinical attention.
The IOF emphasizes that any person over 50 who has experienced their first fracture needs to insist on being assessed for osteoporosis. Hospitals and other health authorities need to cooperate and implement multidisciplinary coordinator-based models of care that have been shown to be effective in preventing secondary fractures.
For more information on osteoporosis and the Fosamax fractures class action lawsuit, these sites are available.