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Med Pediatr Oncol. 2003 Sep;41(3):222-7.


Management of osteoporosis due to ovarian failure.


Eastell R.

Professor of Bone Metabolism, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, United Kingdom.


The management of oestrogen deficiency bone loss needs to include general measures to protect against osteoporosis, the identification and treatment of other reversible causes of bone loss, and the use of proven agents for the treatment of osteoporosis. The general measures include improved physical activity, adequate diet (paying particular attention to calcium and vitamin D), and avoidance of behaviours that promote bone loss, such as smoking and alcohol abuse. The diseases that should be identified, other than estrogen-deficiency, include primary hyperparathyroidism, thyrotoxicosis and celiac disease. The treatments that are proven to prevent fractures in women with estrogen deficiency, include hormone replacement therapy, raloxifene, nasal calcitonin, bisphosphonates, (alendronate and risedronate) and parathyroid hormone. The most appropriate therapy in the younger woman is HRT, although the trial-based evidence that HRT prevents fractures is not strong. There is a wide choice of preparations and the use of continuous combined preparations avoids regular menstrual periods, one of the limitations to the use of HRT. Raloxifene has less effect on bone mineral density than HRT, but a similar effect on vertebral fractures and does not result in menstrual bleeding or increased risk of breast cancer. There is recent evidence suggesting that the beneficial effects on lipids translate into reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Bisphosphonates are the standard treatment for the older woman with osteoporosis. Alendronate has been found to reduce the risk of spine, hip, and wrist fractures and has approval for a once weekly regimen, an approach that appears to prevent GI side effects. Risedronate reduces the risk of spine and non-vertebral fractures within the first year of treatment and has been shown to reduce the risk of hip fracture. It has not been associated with an excess of GI side effects. Parathyroid hormone therapy results in increases in BMD that are even greater than estrogen and the bisphosphonates and to an even greater reduction in the risk of fractures, particularly non-vertebral fractures. It works by stimulation of bone formation rather than by inhibition of bone resorption. However, it has to be given by daily injection. Thus, we have a wide choice of therapies for the woman with osteoporosis due to ovarian failure.




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