Watch Out: Your drugs may be raising your risk of a hip fracture

Everything in medicine now has its own acronym, which leads me to ask is that because younger docs can’t remember as much as us old fogies used to have to remember, or before the young docs jump all over me for saying the former, let me add quickly that it’s much, much, much more likely that there is just so much more to remember these days, even with a Google Assistant always in hand.

Anyway, a recent study introduced me to an acronym I had not heard before, namely fracture-associated drugs (FADs), which I have to admit is a very useful acronym (and an easy one to remember) mainly because there are so many drugs out there that have been linked to a higher risk of fracture, particularly in the elderly, tha tis, people like me.

For example, proton pump inhibitors (yup, taking one), antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, antacids (yup, too), opioids, sleeping pills (yup, occasionally), diuretics (yup, alas), and on and on can all increase the risk of fracture, particularly of the hip., either by weakening bone strength or by increasing the risk of falls.

So the news is that in this study published in JAMA Network Open, the researchers found that as expected, being on any single FAD raised one’s risk of fracture, and also as expected, the more FADs a person took, the higher their fracture risk, so that in this analysis, taking taking one FAD doubles the risk risk of fracture, taking two FADS – and this is very common in seniors; see above – tripled the risk, and taking three or more FADS – again, pretty common when you look at the drugs that are prescribed to seniors – increased the fracture risk four-fold.

This should be very sobering information to anyone taking even one of these drugs, and not just to seniors: If you are already on an FAD, always question your doctor about whether or not you really need to be on another FAD when you are (pretty inevitably) prescribed a second or a third one.

And be careful out there, OK boomers?