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Your Healthy Family: Keeping your skeleton strong amid COVID-19 fears

Posted at 9:51 AM, Jul 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-20 11:51:28-04

CLEVELAND, OHIO — COVID-19 has impacted medical care for millions of Americans – including those with osteoporosis, a disease that weakens bones, making them more susceptible to fracture.

Some people have had bone-strengthening osteoporosis treatments postponed in order to comply with stay-at-home orders.

Cleveland Clinic’s Susan Williams, MD said that approach is okay for some, but not others.

“If you happen to be an individual who is getting an infusion once a year, missing a month or even two isn’t going to be that harmful. Similarly with the oral medications, if you’ve been on an oral medication a long time, stopping for a couple of months is really going to have minimal effect,” she said. “Where we see the most concerning effects are the medications that are given every six months, and every month.”

Dr. Williams said osteoporosis medications given every six months shouldn’t be paused for more than four weeks because bones can become very fragile.

She encourages people to work with their physician to determine a safe time to come into the office for injections or infusions or to temporarily switch to an oral medication that can be taken at home, to keep bones strong.

And for people who have missed a dose, or two due to COVID-19 fears, they shouldn’t be afraid to call their doctor so they can help get their therapy, and bone health, back on track.

“Be in contact with your physician because they are the ones who can really help get you on track,” said Dr. Williams. “They know the medications, they know the risk of stopping medications or inadvertently missing a dose. And you can go from there.”

Dr. Williams said the medical community is taking COVID-19 seriously and putting precautions in place to keep patients safe.

If someone has concerns about COVID-19, she recommends contacting the doctor’s office to see what measures have been put in place to protect people from the virus.