Fracture Risk in RA Patients Is Overestimated

Published Online: Saturday, May 1, 2004

A Norwegian study has shed light on fracture risk associated with arthritis. Aside from hip fractures, women with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) do not have more nonspinal fractures than women without RA, according to findings published recently, in the Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases. The study involved 249 women with RA and an equal number of matched controls. All the participants were about 63 years old and weighed about the same.

When comparing the rate of selfreported fractures (excluding vertebrae), the researchers found that 53 RA patients (21%) reported a total of 67 fractures, compared with 50 control subjects (20%) who reported 60 fractures. "The similarity between the 2 groups in the number of subjects who reported a previous fracture... was striking," the researchers said.

Another surprise was the fact that there was no increase in wrist fractures in RA patients, compared with control patients. Because this was a small study, the researchers said that no strong conclusions could be drawn about individual fractures, except for hip fractures.

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