Recently, Osteoporosis Australia in collaboration with the Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (RACGP) released new clinical guidelines for GPs. Both Osteoporosis Australia and the RACGP are confident that the new guidelines will assist general practitioners to improve the bone health of Australian patients.
The new guidelines were developed over 2 years by an expert medical committee and reviewed and endorsed by the RACGP. Important developments over the past 6 years in osteoporosis care including further evidence for medications and other health interventions were reviewed and included within the guidelines. Dr Bastian Seidel, President of RACGP said about 4.47 million Australians over the age of 50 have osteoporosis or osteopenia and most of these patients will turn to their GP for support. This is why the new guidelines provide GPs with timely and much needed expert guidance to better detect, diagnose, and manage patients with osteoporosis.
It is estimated there will be over 160,000 fractures due to poor bones health in 2017. Osteoporosis Australia CEO Greg Lyubomirsky said “once a patient has broken a bone from a minor incident there is no time to wait. The underlying cause of that break should be investigated urgently and the patient may require treatment to minimise the risk of the next fracture occurring. We also encourage people with risk factors for osteoporosis to speak to their doctor because being pro-active can help prevent that first broken bone.”
The new guidelines contain a number of key highlights to the former edition including;
- 42 evidence-based and consensus recommendations have been developed
- 2-page summary, with flowchart, for easy use by busy GPs
- Clearer directions for osteoporosis testing, diagnosis and treatment
- New recommendations for preventing and treating osteoporosis in people with breast and prostate cancer
- More specific guidance for exercise to prevent bone loss and reduce fracture risk
- Updated recommendations for osteoporosis medication on PBS listed for both men and women
- Advice on the use of on-line fracture risk calculators to aid GP decision-making
- Recommendations around the appropriate use of calcium and vitamin D supplements
- Clearer guidance on treatment duration and monitoring
“We are confident these guidelines will assist GPs as we aim to further reduce overall fracture rates in Australia,” Dr Seidel said.
General practitioners can access the new guidelines here.