“One major side effect of glucocorticoid therapy is bone loss and an increase in the risk of fractures. Fractures can cause significant morbidity and be associated with an increased risk of mortality,” said Mary Beth Humphrey, MD, PhD, co-principal investigator of the guideline and interim Vice President for Research and a Professor of Medicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. “With newly approved osteoporosis medications and a review of the relevant literature, we felt it was important to update the guideline.”
The guideline team conducted an updated systematic literature review for clinical questions on non-pharmacologic and pharmacologic treatment addressed in the 2017 guideline, and for questions on new pharmacologic treatments, discontinuation of medications, sequential and combination therapy. The Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) approach was used to rate the certainty of evidence. A Voting panel including clinicians and patients achieved ≥70% consensus on the direction (for or against) and strength (strong or conditional) of recommendations.
The guideline includes recommendations on abaloparatide and romosozumab, which are two medications that are newly available since the 2017 guideline, as well as recommendations for other osteoporosis medications.
The guideline also recommends sequential therapy (any treatment regimen in which the patient is given one treatment followed by another), which was not addressed in the previous guideline. The recommendations for sequential therapies are based in part on some study designs, long term follow-up studies, and new clinical trials.
“Some physicians may be surprised about the need for sequential therapy when completing a course of denosumab, parathyroid hormone/parathyroid hormone related protein, or romosozumab. If not done, patients could be at risk of rapidly developing vertebral fractures and bone loss,” said Linda Russell, MD, Director of Perioperative Medicine, Director of the Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Health Center for the Hospital for Special Surgery and co-principal investigator of the guideline.
The updated guideline also gives more flexibility on drug selection and considers patient and physician preferences.
“The previous guideline rank-ordered medication for the treatment of glucocorticoid induced osteoporosis. We felt it was important that this guideline reflect patient/physician decision making,” said Dr. Humphrey.
A full manuscript has been submitted for journal peer review and is anticipated to be published in rheumatology journals in early 2023. The summary of the guideline recommendations can be viewed in full on the ACR website.
About the American College of Rheumatology
Founded in 1934, the American College of Rheumatology (ACR) is a not-for-profit, professional association committed to advancing the specialty of rheumatology that serves over 7,700 physicians, health professionals, and scientists worldwide. In doing so, the ACR offers education, research, advocacy and practice management support to help its members continue their innovative work and provide quality patient care. Rheumatology professionals are experts in the diagnosis, management and treatment of more than 100 different types of arthritis and rheumatic diseases. For more information, visit www.rheumatology.org.