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Eur J Pediatr, 2022; (): , PMID: 36472650

Osteoporosis in children and adolescents: how to treat and monitor?

Year: 2022

Ciancia S, Hogler W, Sakkers RJB, Appelman-Dijkstra NM, Boot AM, Sas TCJ, Renes JS
Department of Pediatrics, Subdivision of Endocrinology, Erasmus University Medical Center, Sophia Children"s Hospital, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Osteoporosis is a condition of increased bone fragility associated with fractures. Apart from primary genetic osteoporotic conditions, secondary osteoporosis in children is being increasingly recognized. As a result, there is growing interest in its prevention and treatment. Important goals of care are to prevent fractures, increase bone mass and trabecular and cortical thickness, reshape vertebral fractures, prevent (or correct) skeletal deformities, and improve mobility, independence, and quality of life. Secondary pediatric osteoporosis is often of multifactorial origin since affected children frequently have more than one acquired factor that is detrimental to bone health. Typical conditions causing osteoporosis are leukemias, progressive muscle or neurological disorders, as well as chronic inflammatory conditions and their treatment. Management of children with osteoporosis involves a multidisciplinary team involving pediatric experts from different subspecialties. With regard to prevention and early intervention, it is important to provide optimal management of any underlying systemic conditions including avoidance, or dose-reduction, of osteotoxic medications. Basic supporting life-style measures, such as appropriate nutrition, including adequate calcium intake and vitamin D, and physical activity are recommended, where possible. When pediatric treatment criteria for osteoporosis are met, antiresorptive drugs constitute the first pharmacological line treatment. CONCLUSION: This clinical review focuses on the prevention, treatment, and follow-up of children with, or at risk of developing, osteoporosis and the transition from pediatric to adult care. WHAT IS KNOWN: * Osteoporosis and associated fractures can cause significant morbidity and reduce the quality of life. * The developing skeleton has huge potential for recovery and reshaping, thus early detection of fractures, assessment of recovery potential, and treatment of children with osteoporosis can prevent future fractures, deformities, and scoliosis, improve function and mobility, and reduce pain. WHAT IS NEW: * Osteoporosis in children and adolescents requires a multidisciplinary approach with a thorough assessment of recovery potential, and indication for therapy should be personalized. * Although bisphosphonates still represent the drug most commonly used to increase bone mass, improve mobility, and reduce pain and recurrence of fractures, new agents are being developed and could be beneficial in children with specific conditions.

GID: 5862; Last update: 13.12.2022