Osteoporosis is a bone disease that occurs when the body loses too much bone, makes too little bone, or both.1 As a result, bones become weak and more likely to break.1 Globally, an osteoporosis-related fracture happens every 3 seconds, and in the U.S. alone there are around 2 million fractures, and $19 billion in costs, related to osteoporosis every year.1,2 Postmenopausal women are at high risk for osteoporosis, with one in two women over the age of 50 in the U.S. experiencing an osteoporosis-related fracture in her remaining lifetime.3
“Around the time when I was going through the beginnings of menopause, I went to see my gynecologist for a DXA scan (a test that measures bone mineral density) because I have a family history of osteoporosis,” says Victoria, a patient diagnosed with osteoporosis. “I was shocked when my doctor told me. I’ve always been active and eaten a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. Now, I am extra careful to avoid falling, and continue to exercise with activities I love, like vigorous walking, swimming and my yoga practice which is modified for osteoporosis to promote balance, flexibility, and bone strength.”
As the U.S. recognizes the month of May as osteoporosis awareness month, Amgen remains committed to predicting and helping prevent the impact of serious diseases like osteoporosis through early screening and intervention with appropriate patients before a fracture occurs, along with improving access to post-fracture care to help prevent additional fractures.4
One way Amgen serves patients like Victoria is by working with multiple stakeholders to support a wide range of efforts to improve the patient journey and address major challenges facing the osteoporosis community. Here are four recently launched initiatives with ambitious goals, including one that helps older adults prevent falls that could lead to broken bones. The other three offer support for the millions of people who live, and care for loved ones, with osteoporosis, from identifying those who may be at risk for the disease and helping reduce the risk of a broken bone in people with osteoporosis, to enhancing care and helping prevent future bone breaks in people who have already experienced a fracture.
Increasing diagnosis and screening through the Susan G. Komen® and American Bone Health™ educational campaign
In addition to women who may be at risk for postmenopausal osteoporosis, certain women with breast cancer may be at higher risk for broken bones. Women with metastatic breast cancer that has spread to the bones are at risk for skeletal-related events including bone pain, spine compression, and broken bones.5 That’s why Amgen is sponsoring multiple programs that focus on educating women about breast and bone health. This includes a three-year bone health education campaign with Susan G. Komen®, the world’s leading breast cancer organization, and American Bone Health™, the leading nonprofit dedicated to consumer bone health education, to empower women with information about the importance of heathy living for maintaining good life-long breast and bone health. The multi-pronged campaign will reach Komen’s large and engaged audience to equip women to have constructive conversations with their doctors about appropriate screening and diagnosis to understand their evolving risk of breast cancer, bone loss and fracture throughout their lives.
Separately, Amgen is also supporting a new integrated campaign led by Komen this year to educate the breast cancer community specifically. This program will provide information and tools for women of all ages and stages of breast cancer, including how to talk to their doctors about metastatic breast cancer and bone health.
Increasing screening and diagnosis through Quest Diagnostics/Walmart bone health screening program
A unique pilot program is currently underway to increase access to bone health screening and education by making it available where people already are. Amgen is collaborating with Quest Diagnostics and Walmart to provide no-cost bone screenings for eligible older adults at 12 Walmart locations hosting Quest Patient Service Centers in three states in the United States. The initiative is designed to help identify individuals who may be at increased risk for osteoporotic fracture at early stages and support them in discussing bone health with their physicians.
Helping reduce the risk of osteoporotic fracture with the CDC Foundation falls prevention initiative
In 2018, more than one in four adults reported falling at least once in the past year. In the same year, an estimated 3 million emergency department visits and more than 950,000 hospitalizations or transfers to another facility (e.g., trauma center) resulted from fall-related injuries among older adults.6 Many of these falls could be prevented, and for older adults with osteoporosis, a fall could result in a broken bone.6 Amgen is supporting the CDC Foundation on a five-year fall-prevention initiative. The program plans to help older adults and their caregivers avoid these potentially life-altering events by the creation of user-friendly digital resources to educate people about risk of falls and the simple steps they could take to help prevent them.
Improving post-fracture care and helping prevent subsequent fractures through the International Osteoporosis Foundation Capture the Fracture® partnership initiative
Compared to those without a prior fracture, patients diagnosed with osteoporosis after an initial fracture have an 86% risk of breaking another bone.7 The Capture the Fracture Partnership, an International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) initiative, now supported by Amgen and UCB in collaboration with the University of Oxford, aims to help patients with osteoporosis around the world prevent secondary fractures by improving post-fracture care coordination programs. This global initiative contributes to the ultimate goal of a 25% reduction in hip and vertebral fractures by 2025. The effort also aims to double the number of existing post-fracture care coordination programs that are part of the Capture the Fracture® Network by the end of 2022. Since inception of this program, an additional 255 sites have been added (from 390 to 645).
Although these efforts are just getting off the ground, Amgen is optimistic about the potential impact and will continue to explore other ways to support people living with and caring for those with osteoporosis. To learn more about osteoporosis and its prevalence, visit our newly launched interactive webpage that shows how many women 66 and older have been affected by an osteoporosis-related fracture in each state throughout the U.S.
- National Osteoporosis Foundation. What is Osteoporosis and What Causes It? https://nof.org/patients/what-is- osteoporosis. Accessed April 30, 2021.
- Johnell O, Kanis JA. Osteoporos Int. 2006. 1726-A-1; 1729-Table 3; 1730-Table 5; 1730-Table 6;1730-A-1
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Bone Health and Osteoporosis: A Report of the Surgeon General. Rockville, MD: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Surgeon General, 2004.
- International Osteoporosis Foundation. Capture The Fracture – A global campaign to break the fragility fracture cycle (October 2012). http://share.iofbonehealth.org/WOD/2012/report/WOD12-Report.pdf. Accessed April 30, 2021.
- D’Oronzo S, Coleman R, Brown J, Silvestris F. Metastatic bone disease: Pathogenesis and therapeutic options: Up-date on bone metastasis management. J Bone Oncol. 2019.
- Moreland B, Kakara R, Henry A. Trends in Nonfatal Falls and Fall-Related Injuries Among Adults Aged ≥65 Years — United States, 2012–2018. Weekly I. 2020. 69(27),875–881.
- Kanis JA, Johnell O, De LAet C, Delmas P, et al. A meta-analysis of previous fracture and fracture risk. Bone. 2004;35:375-382