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Med J Aust. 2004 Mar 15;180(6):298-303.

7: Treatment of osteoporosis: why, whom, when and how to treat. The single most important consideration is the individual's absolute risk of fracture.

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Endocrine Unit, Austin and Repatriation Medical Centre, Studley Road, Heidelberg, VIC 3084, Australia.


All women and men with a history of fragility fractures should be considered for treatment of osteoporosis to reduce their risk of future fracture. There is high-level evidence for the anti-fracture efficacy of treatment in women with osteoporosis, particularly if there is prevalent fracture; the evidence is less compelling for women with osteopenia, with or without a fracture, and for men. The rigorously investigated drugs reported to reduce vertebral fractures are the bisphosphonates alendronate and risedronate, the selective oestrogen-receptor modulator raloxifene, the anabolic agent parathyroid hormone and, most recently, strontium ranelate. Only the two bisphosphonates and hormone replacement therapy (HRT) have been reported to reduce hip fractures in community-dwelling women, and calcium plus vitamin D and hip protectors have been reported to reduce these fractures in elderly people in institutions. HRT is not recommended in women for fracture risk reduction alone. Evidence for the anti-fracture efficacy of calcitonin, fluoride, anabolic steroids and active vitamin D metabolites is insufficient to justify their use; lifestyle changes, while not shown to reduce fracture risk, may have a role in maintaining bone strength throughout life.

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