World-wide osteoporosis assessment program may have flaws in clinical practice

The World Health Organization's osteoporosis fracture risk assessment tool (FRAX) has many strengths, but can still limit clinicians, according to two speakers at the North American Menopause Society's 21st Annual Meeting.

Bess Dawson-Hughes, senior scientist and director of the Bone Metabolism Laboratory, and Jean Mayer from the USDA Human Nutrition Center on Aging at Tufts University said that FRAX is currently the best system for determining fracture risk, according to Endocrine Today.

Advantages of FRAX include easily determined risk factors, global validation, application in specific regions or nations and scores that apply to both men and women.

FRAX is a Web tool that evaluates the 10-year probability of a major osteoporotic fracture. The algorithm is based on individual patient models and integrates several clinical risk factors, including age, weight, family history, prior fracture, smoking, alcohol consumption, corticosteroid use and bone mineral density.

However, the program does not provide recommendations for how to use that information. Both speakers said it is essential that physicians are aware of the strengths and limitations of FRAX in clinical practice.

Approximately eight million women and two million men have osteoporosis in the U.S., according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. 
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