New Treatment Approach for Osteopenia


  • Gillian Tufts DNP, FNP-BC

Address correspondence to Gillian Tufts, DNP, FNP-BC, University of Utah, College of Nursing, 10 South 2000 East, Salt Lake City, UT 84112-5880. E-mail:


Nearly 44 million persons in the United States have osteoporosis or osteopenia, most of whom are osteopenic. Because of sheer numbers, an increased number of fractures occur in the osteopenic group. Bone mineral density alone, based on dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan results, is not enough to identify persons at increased risk for fracture. The World Health Organization (WHO) Working Group On Osteoporosis has developed an online tool, known as FRAX, to calculate future hip fracture probability based on individual clinical risk factors. Determining the risk of hip fracture is critical because it is the most devastating osteoporosis complication. The FRAX model was developed from population-based cohort studies in Europe, North America, Asia, and Australia. In 2008, the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) adopted the WHO approach in the treatment of osteopenia. This article presents a clinical scenario to demonstrate the application of the WHO FRAX tool and the new NOF guidelines.