The risk of fracture in incident multiple sclerosis patients: The Danish National Health Registers

Marloes T. Bazelier, Joan Bentzen, Peter Vestergaard, Egon Stenager, Hubert G. M. Leufkens, Tjeerd-Pieter van Staa, Frank de Vries*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) may be at increased risk of fractures owing to osteoporosis and falling. Objective: To evaluate the risk of fracture in incident MS patients drawn from a dedicated MS registry compared with population-based controls. Methods: We conducted a population-based cohort study (1996-2007) utilising the Danish National Health Registers that were linked to the Danish MS Registry and the Danish MS Treatment Registry. Incident MS patients (2963 cases) were 1: 6 matched by year of birth, gender, calendar time and region to persons without MS (controls). Cox proportional hazards models and logistic regression were used to estimate the risk of fracture in MS. Time-dependent adjustments were made for age, history of diseases and drug use. Results: Compared with controls, patients with MS had no overall increased risk of fracture (adjusted hazard ratio (adj. HR): 1.0, 95% CI: 0.9-1.2). However, the risk of femur/hip fracture (adj. HR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.4) was significantly increased compared to controls. As compared with unexposed patients, MS patients who had been exposed to a short course of methylprednisolone in the prior year had no significantly increased risk of osteoporotic fracture (adj. HR: 1.2, 95% CI: 0.5-2.9). Disabled MS patients with Expanded Disability Status Scale [EDSS] scores between 6 and 10, had a 2.6-fold increased risk of osteoporotic fracture (adjusted odds ratio (adj. OR): 2.6, 95% CI: 1.0-6.6) compared to patients with an EDSS score between 0 and 3. Conclusion: Patients with MS had a higher risk of femur/hip fracture than controls. Disability status is probably more important than glucocorticoid use in the aetiology of MS and osteoporotic fracture.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1609-1616
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012


  • EDSS
  • fracture
  • multiple sclerosis
  • steroids

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