Bisphosphonates reduce fractures in randomized controlled trials (RCT); however, there is less information from real life. In our population including 14,990 women and 13,239 men, use of bisphosphonates reduced risk of fractures in hip and forearm in women. The magnitude of the effect was comparable to results from RCT.
INTRODUCTION: The objective was to examine if treatment with bisphosphonates (BPs) was associated with reduced risk of fractures in the hip and forearm in women and men in the general population.
METHODS: In a cohort study based on data from the third wave of the population-based HUNT Study (HUNT3), the fracture registry in Nord-Trøndelag, and the Norwegian Prescription Database, 14,990 women and 13,239 men 50-85 years were followed from the date of participating in HUNT3 (2006-2008) until the date of first fracture in the hip or forearm, death, or end of study (31 December 2012). Hazard ratios with 95% confidence intervals for hip and forearm fracture according to use of BPs were estimated using Cox proportional hazards models with time-dependent exposure. Adjustment for individual FRAX® fracture risk assessment scores was included.
RESULTS: BPs, predominantly alendronate, were used by 9.4% of the women and 1.5% of the men. During a median of 5.2 years of follow-up, 265 women and 133 men had a hip fracture, and 662 women and 127 men had a forearm fracture. Compared with non-users of BPs, the hazard ratios with 95% confidence interval for a fracture among users of BPs adjusted for age and FRAX® were 0.67 (0.52-0.86) for women and 1.13 (0.50-2.57) for men. Among users of glucocorticoids, the corresponding figures were 0.35 (0.19-0.66) and 1.16 (0.33-4.09), respectively.
CONCLUSIONS: Use of BPs was associated with reduced risk of fractures in hip and forearm in women, and the magnitude of effect is comparable to results from RCTs.