A recently presented study at the annual conference of American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons conclusively demonstrates that post-menopausal women who take a drugs to slow bone loss — osteoporosis— may be at a heightened risk for hip fractures. Bisphosphonates, as the group of drugs is commonly known, include brand name medications such as: Actonel, Boniva, Fosomax and Reclast.
While the drugs are commonly prescribed to maintain bone strength in older women, the study demonstrated that when the drugs are taken for more than 5 years, the incidence of hip fractures begins to increase in the group of women who take the drugs compared with women who were not taking the drugs.
“These drugs are good drugs. They strengthen bone and protect you from fractures for a while. But in some people that can become deleterious after a period of time,” according to Melvin Rosenwasser, chief of orthopedic trauma surgery at Columbia Medical Center in New York.
At this point, the FDA has not reviewed the studies nor has the agency issued any recalls with respect to the drugs involved in the study. Rather, if you are taking any of the aforementioned drugs, you should discuss the use with your doctor and make a determination as to what works best for your situation.
Read more about the study linking osteoporosis drugs with hip fractures here.
For more information on nursing homes in New York look here.
Learn more about the laws applicable to New York nursing homes here.
Click on the links for information on nursing homes in New York , Buffalo and Rochester
Hip Fractures In The Elderly
As a nursing home lawyer, I have worked on many cases involving hip fractures as a consequence of falls. Unfortunately, hip fractures typically require surgical repair in order for the patient to regain any quality of life post-fracture. An estimated 300,000 people undergo surgery for hip fractures every year.
Most hip fractures fall into two categories:
Femoral Neck Fracture
A femoral neck fracture occurs when the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint is fractured off the femur. Treatment of a femoral neck fracture depends on the age of the patient and the amount of displacement of the fracture. A partial of full hip replacement may be necessary in patients who sustain a femoral neck fracture because of diminished blood flow makes healing of the area affected by the fracture unlikely.
Intertrochanteric Hip Fracture
An intertrochanteric hip fracture occurs just below the femoral neck. These fractures are amenable to repair more often than femoral neck fractures. The usual surgical treatment involves placement of a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture as opposed to a partial or complete hip replacement.
Hip fracture surgery complications
The good news is that modern medicine is capable of treating many types of hip fractures. However, data has shown us that many elderly people have an incredibly difficult time recovering from hip fracture procedures. In fact, an estimated 30%+ of people over 60 will die in the year following their procedure.
All this means that nursing homes and other care facilities should take all possible efforts to implement fall prevention programs to reduce the risk of falls in their patients.
Related Nursing Homes Abuse Blog Entries: