Long-term treatment strategies for postmenopausal osteoporosis

Felicia Cosman
Current Opinion in Rheumatology 2018, 30 (4): 420-426

PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Osteoporosis guidelines do not usually provide specific recommendations regarding what medication is most appropriate for individual patients. Generic oral bisphosphonates are often considered first-line treatment for osteoporosis, but treatment duration is limited, based on potential long-term safety concerns, and there is no consensus about what to do after 5 years. There are no recommendations concerning long-term management of osteoporosis over 30 or more years of postmenopausal life.

RECENT FINDINGS: This review attempts to specify medication choices and provide the best clinical management strategies for women at different stages of life and with different underlying disease severity. Because there is no evidence that considers the entire postmenopausal lifespan, much of the discussion here will be based on expert opinion. The review considers a role for estrogens and selective estrogen receptor modulators, oral and intravenous bisphosphonates, denosumab and the anabolic agents, teriparatide and abaloparatide.

SUMMARY: Optimal sequential monotherapy, over an average of 30 postmenopausal years, should be able to minimize exposure to pharmacology while maximizing benefits on bone strength and minimizing imminent and long-term risk of fracture.

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