Osteoporosis, osteopenia and fracture risk: Widening the therapeutic horizons

Dennis A Davey


The majority of women with fragility fractures have osteopenia rather than osteoporosis. In post hoc analyses of trials of alendronate and strontium ranelate, women with osteopenia had significant reductions in the incidence of fragility fractures and specific therapies may be mandated in women with osteopenia, as well as those with osteoporosis. Increasing numbers of fractures of the spine and hip occur in very elderly women and men over the age of 80, but in this age group it is often considered too late in life to start long-term specific therapies. In clinical trials of very elderly women, risendronate significantly reduced vertebral fractures and strontium ranelate significantly reduced vertebral, non-vertebral and symptomatic clinical fractures within 1 year of starting treatment. The indications for specific therapies for osteopenia and osteoporosis, as well as other measures for the prevention and treatment of fragility fractures, urgently need to be increased and widened.

Author's affiliations

Dennis A Davey, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, University of Cape Town

Full Text



Osteoporosis, Osteopenia, Fracture risk, Very elderly

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2012;102(5):285-288.

Article History

Date submitted: 2011-10-29
Date published: 2012-03-08

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