Osteoporosis New Zealand publishes Fracture Liaison Service Resource Pack

Osteoporosis New Zealand has published a Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) Resource Pack, which was endorsed by the Health Quality & Safety Commission New Zealand:



Geelong reference range

Hip: The recommended reference range is the Geelong female reference range but NHANES III is very similar and is also perfectly acceptable.

Spine: The recommended reference range is the Geelong female reference range. There is no NHANES III reference range for the spine.

Whole Body and body composition: NHANES III is the recommended reference range (none available from Geelong)

Hip: The recommended reference range is NHANES III (the male Geelong refernce range has not been made available).

Spine: There is no standard reference range available (There is no NHANES III reference range for the spine and the male Geelong refernce range has not been made available). The only option is to use the ones from the manufacturers which differ significantly.

Whole Body and body composition: NHANES III is the recommended reference range (none available from Geelong)



Fragility Fracture Network launches new website


The Fragility Fracture Network’s mission is to promote globally the optimal multidisciplinary management of the patients with a fragility fracture, including secondary prevention. FFN is a fast growing organisation with global reach and a multidisciplinary membership, which is particularly well represented in Australia and New Zealand. Professor David Marsh (orthopaedics) from the UK is the current FFN President and Professor Maria Crotty (Rehabilitation Physician) from Adelaide is President-Elect.


The FFN is focused on 6 themes:



The new website can be visited at www.fragilityfracturenetwork.org. Please take a look, and if you find the site useful, share it with colleagues who are also interested in the care of fragility fracture sufferers.


Calcium and Bone Health - position paper for ANZBMS, OA and ESA

The final version of the "Calcium and Bone Health" position paper was accepted in 2007 and is endorsed by ANZBMS, Osteoporosis Australia (OA) and the Endocrine Society of Australia (ESA).

Download the Position Statement - PDF file: 69KB

Osteoporosis Australia

This section contains osteoporosisrelated research papers and position statementsissuedby the Osteoporosis AustraliaMedical and Scientific Advisory Committee.

Research papers and position statements:

Burden of disease analysis of osteoporosis, osteopenia and related fractures 2012-2022. This comprehensive report outlines direct and indirect costs, fracture numbers (and types) and projected impact of poor bone health in Australia. The report is essential reading for policy makers, health professionals and the community. It demonstrates interventions are needed to reduce fractures in the future.Refer to Executive Summary for brief introduction to the report. Report was launched at Parliament House December 2013.

Note:The ‘Building Healthy Bones Throughout Life’ guidelines are the result of an 18 month body of work and provide recommendations for calcium, vitamin D and exercise for all stages of life (childhood, healthy adults, older adults, and people with osteoporosis and osteopenia). A summary version was also published as a supplement in MJA OPEN (9 pages). Please click here to access 4 Feb 2013 podcast interviews by Dr Giovanna Zingarelli, Deputy Editor of the MJA, with Professor Peter Ebeling regarding these guidelines.(If you experience any difficulties accessing this link with Internet Explorer you may have to try Firefox or Chrome)

Working Group of the Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society, Endocrine Society of Australia and Osteoporosis Australia
(Osteoporosis Australia recommendations for Vitamin D are based on this position statement)

 Vitamin D and adult bone health in Australia and New Zealand

A position statement by a working group of the ANZBMS, ESA and OA. 
Published MJA 2005; 182: 281–285.


A significant number of Australians are deficient in vitamin D. Indeed, it is a fallacy that Australians receive adequate vitamin D from casual exposure to sunlight. 
Here, we outline the causes and outcomes of vitamin D deficiency, the people who are at risk, and recommendations for management of deficiency.

Download the Position Statement - PDF file: 162KB

Exercise and Osteoporosis

Download the position statement on Exercise and Osteoperosis.

Jaw osteonecrosis with bisphosphonates

The adverse event of jaw osteonecrosis has been reported most commonly with the use of intravenous bisphosphonates (zoledronate and pamidronate) in cancer patients, but has also been reported with the use of oral bisphosphonates in osteoporosis and Paget’s patients. There have been 78 cases associated with alendronate therapy in 20 million patient years of exposure (Fosamax, Merck & Co) and there have also been a number of cases associated with risedronate (Actonel, Procter & Gamble).

What is it?

A number of conditions including “dry sockets” are currently grouped under the name of “jaw osteonecrosis’. In the worst case, individuals develop a deformity around or at a tooth socket. A painful and gaping hole may occur in the jaw. The deforming area around dead bone may fail to heal which may result in chronic dental problems.

Why does it occur? Why is the jaw affected?

The cause is not understood, nor is it clear why some patients get the more severe condition. However bone normally undergoes renewal on a continuous basis. This remodelling process involves osteoclasts resorbing old, possibly damaged bone and osteoblasts building new bone. Jaw osteonecrosis may stem from the mechanism of action of bisphosphonates. These drugs work by preventing the resorption of old bone, since bisphosphonates are toxic to the osteoclasts. This leads to a reduction in bone turnover that may be more critical in the jaw.

Bone in the jaw has a faster turnover than bone elsewhere in the body, both because it is subjected to constant stress from activities such as talking and chewing and also because of the presence of teeth, which mandates daily bone remodeling at the periodontal ligament. Also the jaw can often be damaged during dental surgery such as extractions. The potential concentration of these drugs in the jaw bones, when coupled with chronic invasive dental diseases/treatments and the thin mucosa over the bone, may predispose to the condition being manifest in the jaw.

Who is at risk?

Jaw osteonecrosis has usually been observed after patients have been taking therapy for five or more years. However it has been reported to occur earlier in the presence of certain risk factors. For example, of the 78 cases with alendronate, most developed after an invasive dental procedure, such as a tooth extraction. Other risk factors include oral infections, use of steroid therapy and radiotherapy.

How common is this problem?

Jaw osteonecrosis is rare, occurring in perhaps one out of 1,000 to 10,000 patients. At the US Federal Drug Administration hearing on this subject in March 2005, Novartis reported 875 possible cases of jaw osteonecrosis associated with the two intravenous products, zoledronate and pamidronate. The majority of these cases occurred in patients with cancer treated with doses ranging up to 20 times higher than used in osteoporosis. As of June 2005, Merck had received 78 reports of jaw osteonecrosis associated with alendronate. However, the company saw no cases of jaw osteonecrosis during preclinical studies, in which alendronate was used at far higher doses than are approved for osteoporosis, and also no cases were seen in controlled clinical trials, which involved more than 17,000 patients. Alendronate has been on the market for 10 years now, during which time total exposure to the drug is estimated at around 20 million patient-years. Moreover these case reports have not all been carefully evaluated and some may represent relatively mild problems, such as dry socket that have been reported long before bisphosphonates were in use.

Prevention is better than cure.

Despite its rarity, physicians who prescribe bisphosphonates should be aware of this side effect and should discuss it with patients. It is important to ask about dental hygiene before starting therapy. The best strategy is prevention, as most cases appear to follow a dental procedure. If the patient’s dental fitness is in doubt, it may be prudent to send them for these procedures before they start on a course of bisphosphonate therapy and to encourage thorough dental hygiene at all times. Once on the drug, patients should be advised to let their dentist know they are taking such medication and, in general, invasive dental procedures should be avoided. It may be prudent to temporarily withdraw bisphosphonate therapy before such procedures although it is recognised that these drugs remain in bone long term – for example, alendronate has a half-life of about 10 years.


In osteoporosis, the bisphosphonates have been shown to increase bone mineral density and significantly reduce the risk of fractures. The very small potential absolute risk of jaw osteonecrosis with doses used to treat osteoporosis must be kept in perspective and considered in relation to their demonstrated benefit.

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