Monday, June 8, 2015

Osteoporosis treatment in patients with renal failure: the gray zone...

Chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients develop significant changes in bone mineral density (BMD) and bone structure, which together with an increased risk for falls, put them at high risk for fracture. This can be due, in part, to renal osteodystrophy, since bone loss and reduced bone quality may be present in both low- (osteomalacia and adynamic bone disease) and high-turnover bone disease (osteitis fibrosa and mixed uremic osteodystrophy). In addition, some patients may have underlying traditional risk factors for bone loss, such as early menopause or smoking. The heterogeneity of bone loss in patients with CKD complicates its management, requiring frequently a combination of interventions. Performing a bone biopsy is the gold-standard to characterize potential etiologies though not frequently available in most centers. 

 One of the major challenges of treatment of osteoporosis in patients with eGFR below 30 mL/minute is the limited available data. Bisphosphonates are usually not advocated in this population since most agents have renal clearance and patients were frequently excluded from clinical trials. Post-hoc analyses of studies in postmenopausal women with grades 4 and 5 CKD and a definite diagnosis of osteoporosis revealed efficacy and short-term safety of bisphosphonates, denosumab, and raloxifene in addition to calcium and vitamin D supplementation. Bisphosphonates demonstrated increase in BMD, and reduction in vertebral fracture incidence regardless of degree of renal dysfunction. To date, anti-osteoporotic agents have not been recommended in CKD stage 5D due to lack of data on security and on its beneficial impact against fracture. Though some small studies have reported an amelioration of BMD with these drugs in hemodialysis patients. 

Patients with severe renal impairment are at higher risk for hypercalcemia due to calcium and vitamin D supplements, or for hypocalcemia if taking denosumab therapy. Therefore, serum calcium, phosphorus, parathyroid hormone, 25-hydroxyvitamin D should be monitored at least every four months. Furthermore, renal function should be routinely measured in patients taking bisphosphonates. Markers of bone turnover, including but not limited to C terminal telopeptide (CTX), N terminal telopeptide (NTX), and pyridinolines (PYR) are metabolized and/or excreted renally, and will accumulate in renal dysfunction. Therefore, they should not be used to monitor response to therapy in patients with eGFR below 30 mL/minute. Despite neither predicting fracture risk nor the type of renal osteodysthrophy, bone densitometry of the hip and spine may be performed to monitor for changes in BMD. In complex patients, a bone biopsy should be considered prior to initiating osteoporosis treatment. 

• For patients with low BMD (T-score below 2.5) associated with fragility fracture and grades 4 or 5 CKD, pharmacologic therapy might be considered after excluding all other CKD-related low BMD diagnoses. 
• Adjusted dose of oral bisphophonates are typically recommended based on clinical experience and existing data. 
• Intravenous (IV) bisphosphonates should be used as a last resort only in patients who cannot tolerate previous therapies and are at high risk for multiple fractures. 
• Nephrotoxicity is a significant potential problem with IV bisphosphonates (Zoledronic acid). It is dependent on both dose and infusion rates. 
 • The patterns of nephrotoxicity from IV bisphosphonates include acute tubular necrosis and collapsing focal segmental glomerulosclerosis. 
 • Strict adherence to guidelines for monitoring renal function prior to each dose and temporarily withholding therapy in the setting of renal insufficiency, may help prevent nephrotoxicity from these agents. Denosumab can be an interesting alternative since it is not renally excreted. Further studies are required in patients with CKD. 
• Medications that increase bone formation, such as teriparatide and anti-sclerostin monoclonal antibodies (romosozumab and blosozumab) seem to be promising alternatives for treating osteoporosis in CKD patients with low-turnover bone disease.

Sandra El Hajj, PharmD
Steven Gabardi, PharmD, BCPS, FCCP
Fellype Barreto, MD, PhD
Leonardo Riella, MD, PhD

Additional References: 

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