Douglas C Bauer, Dennis M Black, Rick Dell, Bo Fan, Christopher D Smith, Martin T Ernst, Anne G Jurik, Jens B Frøkjær, Mikael Boesen, Eric Vittinghoff, Bo Abrahamsen

Bisphosphonate Use and Risk of Atypical Femoral Fractures: A Danish Case Cohort Study with Blinded Radiographic Review

  • Biochemistry (medical)
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology
  • Biochemistry
  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism

Abstract Context Prolonged bisphosphonate (BP) treatment for osteoporosis prevents hip and other fractures but causes atypical femoral fractures (AFF). Objective To establish the relationship between patterns of BP use and the risk of AFF and hip fractures. Other potential risk factors for AFF were also examined. Design Population-based case-cohort study Setting The Danish National Healthcare system maintains longitudinal records of medication use, healthcare utilization, and x-ray images. Participants Among all 1.9 million Danish adults ≥50, those with subtrochanteric or femoral shaft fractures between 2010-2015 (n = 4,973) were identified and compared to a random sample (n = 37,021). Predictors Bisphosphonate use was collected from 1995-2015. Main Outcome Measures Fracture radiographs (n = 4,769) were reviewed by blinded study radiologists to identify AFFs (n = 181) using established criteria. Traditional hip fractures in the random sample (n = 691) were identified by ICD-10. Results Compared to <1 year of BP use, 5-7 years of use was associated with a 7-fold increase in AFF [adjusted HR = 7.29 (CI: 3.07,17.30)]; the risk of AFF fell quickly after discontinuation. The 5-year number-needed-to-harm for one AFF was 1,424, while the 5-year number-needed-to-treat to prevent one hip fracture was 56. Glucocorticoid and proton pump inhibitor use were independently associated with increased AFF risk. Thirty-one percent of those with AFF had no BP exposure. Conclusions The risk of AFF increases with duration of BP use but the beneficial effects of BP therapy in adults ≥50 dramatically exceed this increased risk. Nearly one-third of those with AFF have no BP exposure.

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