Effectiveness of Oral Bisphosphonates in Reducing Fracture Risk Among Oral Glucocorticoid Users: Three Matched Cohort Analyses
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The benefit of oral bisphosphonates in reducing fracture risk in glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis is controversial. We aimed to estimate the effectiveness of oral bisphosphonates in reducing fracture risk in a cohort of new chronic oral glucocorticoid users. We created three matched cohorts using health care administrative data from Ontario, Canada. We included residents aged 66 years and older initiating chronic oral glucocorticoids (≥450 mg prednisone equivalent and ≥2 glucocorticoid prescriptions within a 6-month window) between January 1998 and September 2014. Exposed patients were those who initiated an oral bisphosphonate (alendronate, etidronate, or risedronate) within the first 6 months of starting chronic oral glucocorticoid therapy. Exposed cohorts (3945 alendronate, 5825 risedronate, and 8464 etidronate) were each matched 1:1 to unexposed patients on glucocorticoid exposure, fracture risk factors, and propensity score. We examined incident hip (primary outcome), vertebral, forearm, and humerus fractures using Cox proportional hazard models. Alendronate (hazard ratio [HR] = 0.46, 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.25-0.80) and risedronate (HR = 0.58, 95% CI 0.36-0.90) were associated with reduced hip fracture risk. Alendronate (HR = 0.52, 95% CI 0.39-0.68), etidronate (HR = 0.59, 95% CI 0.48-0.73) and risedronate (HR = 0.47 95% CI 0.36-0.60) were associated with reduced vertebral fracture risk. No risk reduction in forearm or humerus fractures was apparent for any bisphosphonate. Among older chronic glucocorticoid initiators, all oral bisphosphonates reduced vertebral fracture risk, yet only alendronate and risedronate reduced hip fracture risk. Results were similar between men and women. We provided compelling evidence that early initiation of oral bisphosphonates during chronic oral glucocorticoid therapy is beneficial to prevent osteoporotic fractures. © 2017 American Society for Bone and Mineral Research.
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