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Controversies in Osteoporosis Treatment of Nursing Home Residents.

Niznik JD, Gilliam MA, Colón-Emeric C, Thorpe CT, Lund JL, Berry SD, Hanson LC. Controversies in Osteoporosis Treatment of Nursing Home Residents. Journal of The American Medical Directors Association. 2022 Dec 1; 23(12):1928-1934.

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Osteoporotic fractures are a common and serious health problem for older adults living in nursing homes (NHs). Risk of fracture increases with age and dementia status, yet gaps in evidence result in controversies around when to start and stop treatment for osteoporosis in NH residents, particularly those who have high fracture risk but have limited life expectancy. In this article, we discuss these areas of controversy. We provide an overview of current guidelines that explicitly address osteoporosis treatment strategies for NH residents, review the evidence for osteoporosis medications in NH residents, and use these sources to suggest practical recommendations for clinical practice and for research. Three published guidelines (from the United States, Canada, and Australia) and several studies provide the current basis for clinical decisions about osteoporosis treatment for NH residents. Practical approaches may include broad use of vitamin D and selective use of osteoporosis medication based on risks, benefits, and goals of care. Clinicians still lack strong evidence to guide treatment of NH residents with advanced dementia, multimorbidity, or severe mobility impairment. Future priorities for research include identifying optimal approaches to risk stratification and prevention strategies for NH residents and evaluating the risk-benefit profile of pharmacologic treatments for osteoporosis NH residents across key clinical strata. In the absence of such evidence, decisions for initiating and continuing treatment should reflect a patient-centered approach that incorporates life expectancy, goals of care, and the potential burden of treatment.

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