Global Health Asia-Pacific Issue 2 | 2023 | Page 56

Osteoporosis treatment for postmenopausal women predominantly relies on hormone replacement therapy using female hormonemimicking drugs .
Medications are a treatment option for osteoporosis .
Pharmaceutical interventions in treating osteoporosis Most pharmaceutical products that treat osteoporosis focus on calcium retention to maintain bone health . Bisphosphonates are widely considered the gold standard and are administered orally or intravenously , often for three to five years� however , some patients may need to take them longer . Bisphosphonates work by binding to bone tissue and reducing the activity of osteoclasts , cells that break down and degrade bone tissue . The drug can slow down this bone loss and allow bone-forming cells called osteoblasts to function more effectively and ultimately increase bone marrow density , reducing fracture risk . However , longterm administration of bisphosphonates can cause various side effects , from mild complications such as fever , joint pain , and constipation to rare but serious conditions such as osteonecrosis where blood flow to the bone is disrupted , resulting in death of bone tissue .
Osteoporosis treatment for post-menopausal women predominantly relies on hormone replacement therapy using female hormone-mimicking drugs . Administering oestrogen replacement therapy or selective oestrogen receptor modulators can help to prevent bone loss and improve bone density . Additionally , teriparatide , a synthetic form of the parathyroid hormone , can be injected in both men and women to enhance bone mass and lower fracture risk . Calcitonin is another common osteoporosis drug that inhibits bone resorption and preserves bone density .
Global cooperation in managing osteoporosis As the global population ages and the prevalence of osteoporosis rises , they pose significant challenges to healthcare systems and society as a whole . In response , the WHO announced a partnership with the European Society for Clinical and Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis , Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases ( ESCEO ) to craft a strategic roadmap on bone health and ageing . The five-year agreement includes the development of public health policies and action plans to prevent fractures among the elderly and improve the quality of healthcare services in terms of accessibility and prioritisation in treating and managing osteoporosis .
“ The initiative will serve to promote action on musculoskeletal conditions , in keeping with the goals of the Decade of Healthy Ageing 2020- 2030 for concerted , sustained collaboration to improve the lives of the world ’ s older population ,” Dr Anshu Banerjee , WHO assistant directorgeneral ad interim , universal health coverage / life course , who signed the agreement with ESCEO , said in a press release . Dr Jean-Yves Reginster , president of ESCEO , expressed concern that the rising osteoporosis statistics would place greater burden on healthcare systems . “ We believe that this important agreement with the WHO signifies recognition that action must be taken to address the fragility fracture crisis ,” he added .
The agreement fosters cooperation between both organisations in developing global estimates on osteoporosis and fracture , reviewing evidence-based interventions to prevent fracture , and devising an economic model for an investment case in fracture prevention and care . Both organisations are also required to provide guidance to countries in enhancing their national health information systems by integrating osteoporosis and fracture into routine data monitoring and how to utilise the data in creating programmes and policies to reduce fracture incidences among older people .
The WHO-ESCEO partnership also proposed the formation of the Bone Health Expert Working Group to advance the agreement with support from the International Osteoporosis Foundation ( IOF ) and the WHO Collaborating Center for Epidemiology of Musculoskeletal Health and Ageing at the University of Liège , Belgium .
Through this partnership , WHO is expected to generate a range of high-profile publications , including global health estimates on the prevalence and incidence of osteoporosis as well as fracture prevention guidelines . “ We expect that the strategic research and publications within the framework of this collaboration will lay the groundwork for the prioritisation of osteoporosis and fragility fracture prevention within global healthcare policy ,” said IOF president Professor Cyrus Hooper who hailed the WHO-ESCEO collaboration as a game-changer for people with osteoporosis worldwide . n
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