Treatment of osteoporosis: facing the challenges in the Asia-Pacific


: Syed Atiqul Haq, Aptt-3B, House-11, Road-10, Dhanmondi RA, Dhaka 1205, Bangladesh. Email:


The prevalence of osteoporosis and fractures is projected to increase rapidly in the Asia-Pacific region in coming decades. At the societal level, healthcare providers will face the challenges of paucity of information, lack of awareness among physicians, resource constraints, lack of organization, absence of policies of cost reimbursement, insufficient representation of the problem in curricula and lack of effective, inexpensive and convenient therapy. Poverty, illiteracy, lack of awareness and interest in future quality of life, and co-morbidities with seemingly greater importance, will all act as challenges at the level of individual patients. Lack of compliance is a function of lack of awareness and motivation, cost, complexity of administration, side-effects and absence of immediately perceivable benefit. The challenges may be overcome through systematic collection of data, formation or activation of national osteoporosis planning and coordinating groups, development of national guidelines, programs of education of healthcare providers, patients and the general public, adoption of a population-based prevention strategy, cost-effective opportunistic screening using clinical decision rules like the osteoporosis self-assessment tool for Asians, use of the fracture risk assessment tool for therapeutic decision-making, giving due emphasis to the problem in curricula and development of mechanisms for cost reimbursement. The Asia-Pacific League of Associations for Rheumatology may take a lead in stimulating, organizing and coordinating these activities.