A new study conducted at Reading Hospital and Medical Center in Pennsylvania suggests that many women undergo unnecessary osteoporosis screening, regardless of their risk of developing the condition, a recent Reuters article says.
What Does the Study Say?
The study looked at 615 women who underwent screening at Connecticut clinics. Current guidelines state that women over the age of 65 should be screened for osteoporosis. Women with certain risk factors such as smoking, are advised to begin screening their bones at age 50.
The study, conducted by Dr. Peter F. Schnatz at the Reading Hospital, concluded that of the 615 women who were looked at, 41 percent did not meet the criteria for the screening to be worthwhile. According to Dr. Schnatz, women themselves ask to be screened, and many doctors might not be aware of the age specific guidelines for screening. Dr. Schnatz feels “the findings are certainly not encouraging” given the risks women are taking by undergoing unnecessary screenings and deciding to take an osteoporosis drug like Fosamax.
Bone density tests are simple enough and non-invasive, but can run $200-$300 per test. In addition, some younger women may have a “T” score indicative of lower than normal bone density for a woman her age, which may not indicate overt osteoporosis, but could compel some doctors to offer treatment. Given the risks of femur fractures and other side effects associated with taking Fosamax and other bisphosphonate drugs, women may be putting themselves at risk for no good reason.
The screening guidelines were established by the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), in concurrence with the guidelines set by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. In 2010, the NAMS updated its guidelines to include daily alcohol consumption and rheumatoid arthritis in its screening criteria, in addition to low body weight (under 127 pounds), history of post-menopausal fractures or hip fractures.
This study, according to Dr. Schnatz and his team of researchers, is considered a jumping off point for larger studies to determine whether this is a nationwide dilemma, since the 615 women studied were all from the same geographic area.
Speak to Your Doctor About the Necessity of Screening
Women should do their homework when it comes to whether or not they are candidates for osteoporosis screening. Confer with your doctor based on your current medical condition, family history and other factors that could indicate susceptibility to osteoporosis.
Protect Your Rights as a Consumer
If you have been taking Fosamax for an extended period of time, and have experienced a femur fracture, it could be because of the medication. If you feel you have a potential femur fracture lawsuit against Merck, the manufacturer of Fosamax, the lawyers at the Rottenstein Law Group can help. Our Fosamax lawyers have over 25 years of experience advocating for clients in consumer product injury and mass tort cases.
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