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Rheumatoid arthritis tied to higher risk of bone fractures

04 Oct 2017

Both males and females with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) suffer from significantly higher risks of bone fracture than those without RA, according to a new meta-analysis. Specifically, the risks of hip and vertebral fractures are elevated in RA patients.

“Our study concludes that RA is a risk factor for bone fracture in men and women, with a comparable risk of fracture at the hip and vertebral. Patients with RA are to be monitored more closely to control bone loss and prevent fracture,” said researchers.

The meta-analysis included 13 studies, of which nine scored eight in the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale (NOS), two scored seven and the other two scored six. Overall, the studies were considered to have high methodological quality.

In the meta-analysis, patients with RA showed a significantly higher risk of getting a bone fracture compared to those without RA (risk ratio [RR], 2.25; 95 percent CI, 1.76 to 2.87; p=0.000). The analysis showed significant heterogeneity (p<0.0001) and thus warranted subgroup analyses.

Dividing the subjects by sex showed that both males (RR, 1.87; 1.48 to 2.37) and females (RR, 1.99; 1.58 to 2.50) with RA have higher bone fracture risks than their non-RA counterparts.

Pooled data from seven studies showed that RA was significantly associated with the risk of vertebral fractures (RR, 2.93; 2.25 to 3.83). Similarly, the seven studies that focused on hip fractures revealed a significant and positive correlation between RA and risk of hip fractures (RR, 2.41; 1.83 to 3.17).

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