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The Utility and Limitations of FRAX: A US Perspective

  • Author(s): Silverman, Stuart L.
  • Calderon, Andrew D.
  • et al.
Abstract

The FRAX calculator is a major achievement in terms of our understanding of measuring fracture risk. Along with being an easily accessible web-based tool, it is the only model based on extensive data on multiple cohorts. FRAX will help clinicians identify individuals who need osteoporosis treatments, while also screening out those who do not require osteoporosis treatments. However, FRAX is limited by a number of factors. Although it is web based, few physicians have the means to access it. It also assumes that body mass index and mortality are constant across different racial and ethnic groups. FRAX is further limited by the exclusion of variables known to be associated with fracture risk, lack of dose-response relationships for variables, increased subsequent fracture risk after initial fracture, restriction to only one bone mineral density site, racial and ethnic differences that may influence fracture risk, and availability of racial and ethnic fracture risk data to be used in the FRAX calculator. Finally, the values obtained from FRAX should not take the place of good clinical judgment.

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