Pain medication has been associated with fractures. We found higher weight in paracetamol and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) users and lower vitamin D levels in opioid and acetylsalicylic acid users. None of the pain medications influenced bone mineral density or loss. NSAID were associated with an increased fracture risk.
Introduction: To study the effects of use of paracetamol, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID), acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), and opioids on bone mineral density (BMD) and risk of fractures.
Methods: Two-thousand sixteen perimenopausal women followed for 10 years as part of a partly randomised comprehensive cohort study on hormone therapy (HT). BMD was measured at baseline and after 10 years by DXA (Hologic).
Results: Paracetamol users were heavier (70.4 ± 13.4 vs. 67.7 ± 11.9 kg, 2p < 0.01) than non-users. NSAID users were heavier (71.6 ± 15.6 vs. 67.8 ± 11.9 kg, 2p = 0.04) than non-users. ASA users had lower 25-hydroxy-vitamin D (25OHD) levels (21.9 ± 9.3 vs. 25.3 ± 12.4 ng/ml, 2p < 0.01) than non-users. Opioid users had lower 25OHD (21.4 ± 8.4 vs. 25.2 ± 12.3 ng/ml) and lower intake of vitamin D (2.2 ± 1.1 vs. 3.1 ± 3.0 μg/day, 2p < 0.01) than non-users. Despite these differences, no baseline differences were present in spine, hip, forearm or whole body BMD. Over 10 years, no differences were present in BMD alterations except a small trend towards a higher BMD gain in the spine in users of paracetamol, NSAID, ASA, and opioids compared to non-exposed. After adjustment, NSAID exposed sustained more fractures (HR = 1.44, 95% CI 1.07-1.93) than non-users. For users of paracetamol and opioids, a non-significant trend towards more fractures was present after adjustment. For ASA users, no excess risk of fractures was present.
Conclusion: Significant differences exist between subjects exposed to pain medications and non-users. Despite an absence of an effect over time on BMD, users of NSAID experienced more fractures than expected. The reasons for this have to be explored in further studies.