Challenges and opportunities for osteoporosis care during the COVID-19 pandemic.


Purpose: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has both directly and indirectly affected osteoporosis diagnosis and treatment throughout the world.

Methods: This mini-review summarizes the available evidence regarding the effects of COVID-19, its treatment, and the consequences of the pandemic itself on bone health. Additionally, we review evidence and expert recommendations regarding putative effects of osteoporosis medications on COVID-19 outcomes and vaccine efficacy and summarize recommendations for continuation of osteoporosis treatment during the pandemic.

Results: The use of standard screening procedures to assess for osteoporosis and fracture risk declined dramatically early in the pandemic, while rates of fragility fractures were largely unchanged. COVID-19, its treatments, and public health measures to prevent viral spread are each likely to negatively affect bone health. Osteoporosis treatments are not known to increase risk of adverse events from COVID-19, and preclinical data suggest possible beneficial effects of some therapies. Vitamin D deficiency is clearly associated with adverse outcomes from COVID-19, but it remains unclear whether vitamin D supplementation may improve outcomes. Osteoporosis treatment should be continued whenever possible, and recommendations for substituting therapies, if required, are available.

Conclusion: The COVID-19 pandemic has decreased screening and disrupted treatment for osteoporosis. Osteoporosis medications are safe and effective during the pandemic and should be continued whenever possible. Further studies are needed to fully understand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on long-term bone health.