Osteopenia: debates and dilemmas

Curr Rheumatol Rep. 2013 Dec;15(12):384. doi: 10.1007/s11926-013-0384-5.


Whether or not to use pharmacologic agents for primary prevention of fracture among elderly men and women with osteopenia is debated by clinicians. In this review we provide an update to enable better understanding and characterization of this population, including the prevalence of osteopenia, transitioning from osteopenia to osteoporosis, and clinically applicable tools for fracture risk assessment. We also emphasize the very limited evidence of the benefits and risks of anti-osteoporotic agents for this population for primary fracture prevention, and the need for future studies to guide clinical practice.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / adverse effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / complications
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / drug therapy*
  • Bone Diseases, Metabolic / epidemiology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Mass Screening / organization & administration
  • Osteoporosis / diagnosis
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / epidemiology
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / etiology
  • Osteoporotic Fractures / prevention & control*
  • Risk Assessment / methods


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents