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J Bone Miner Res. 2011 Sep;26(9):2271-9. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.418.

The risk of fracture in patients with multiple sclerosis: the UK general practice research database.

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  • 1Utrecht Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.


Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at an increased risk of fracture owing to a greater risk of falling and decreased bone mineral density when compared with the general population. This study was designed to estimate the relative and absolute risk of fracture in patients with MS. We conducted a population-based cohort study using data from the UK General Practice Research Database linked to the National Hospital Registry (1997-2008). Incident MS patients (n = 5565) were matched 1:6 by year of birth, sex, and practice with patients without MS (controls). Cox proportional-hazards models were used to derive adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) for fracture associated with MS. Time-dependent adjustments were made for age, comorbidity, and drug use. Absolute 5- and 10-year risks of fracture were estimated for MS patients as a function of age. Compared with controls, MS patients had an almost threefold increased risk of hip fracture [HR = 2.79, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.83-4.26] and a risk of osteoporotic fracture that was increased 1.4-fold (HR = 1.35, 95% CI 1.13-1.62). Risk was greater in patients who had been prescribed oral/intravenous glucocorticoids (GCs; HR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.14-2.98) or antidepressants (HR = 1.79, 95% CI 1.37-2.35) in the previous 6 months. Absolute fracture risks were low in younger MS patients but became substantial when patients were older than 60 years of age. It is concluded that MS is associated with an increased risk of fracture. Fracture risk assessment may be indicated in patients with MS, especially those prescribed GCs or antidepressants.

Copyright © 2011 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.

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