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Open access

Aneez Joseph, Kripa Elizabeth Cherian, Nitin Kapoor, and Thomas V Paul


Tenofovir-induced osteomalacia secondary to proximal renal tubular dysfunction is not an uncommon complication known to occur. A 46-year-old woman was referred for the evaluation of osteoporosis which was diagnosed elsewhere. She had polyarthralgia, bony pains and proximal muscle weakness of 1 year duration. She was diagnosed to have HIV infection and was on antiretroviral therapy that consisted of tenofovir, lamivudine and efavirenz for the past 12 years. She had attained menopause 5 years back. On examination, she had bone tenderness, proximal myopathy and painful restriction of movement of her lower limbs. Investigations showed features of renal tubular acidosis, hypophosphatemia and raised alkaline phosphatase that were suggestive of osteomalacia. X-ray of the pelvis showed diffuse osteopenia and an MRI of the pelvis done showed multiple insufficiency fractures involving the head of femur on both sides. Following this, her tenofovir-based regimen was changed to abacavir, efavirenz and lamivudine with addition of neutral phosphate supplements and calcitriol. On follow-up after 6 months, she had significant improvement in her symptoms as well as in the bone mineral density at the lumbar spine (33.2%), femoral neck (27.6%), trabecular bone score (13.2%) and reduction in the buckling ratio at the narrow neck (6.3%), inter-trochanteric region (34%) and femoral shaft (28.8%). Tenofovir-induced osteomalacia is encountered in individuals on prolonged treatment with tenofovir. Treatment consists of changing to a non-tenofovir-based regimen, as well as supplementation of phosphate and calcitriol. Treatment results in remarkable improvement in symptoms and most densitometric indices.

Learning points

  • Tenofovir is a nucleotide reverse transcriptase inhibitor (NRTI) and is a major drug in the treatment of retroviral and hepatitis B infections.

  • Tenofovir-related hypophosphatemic osteomalacia is related to proximal tubulopathy and is not an uncommon occurrence.

  • Treatment mandates changing to a non-tenofovir-based regimen with supplementation of neutral phosphate and calcitriol.

  • Treatment results in a significant improvement in bone mineral density, trabecular bone score and hip geometric parameters.

Open access

Mohammed Anwar Hussain, Aneez Joseph, Vinoo Mathew Cherian, Alok Srivastava, Kripa Elizabeth Cherian, Nitin Kapoor, and Thomas Vizhalil Paul


Although bisphosphonates (BPs) are mainly used for the treatment of osteoporosis and are generally safe, long-term use and more dosage as utilised in malignant conditions may be associated with the rare adverse event of an atypical femoral fracture (AFF). Occasionally, the risk of developing an AFF persists long after BPs are withdrawn. A 39-year-old woman who underwent chemotherapy and an autologous stem cell transplantation for multiple myeloma presented to us with history of pain in the left thigh. She had received multiple doses of oral and parenteral BPs for about 10 years in view of the underlying myeloma with osteoporosis. Her investigations showed a suppressed CTX of 192 pg/mL, and radiograph of pelvis displayed thickened cortices with beaking of the left femoral shaft, which was suggestive of an AFF. Following discontinuation of BPs, she underwent prophylactic intra-medullary nailing with which her symptoms improved. Five years later, she presented with similar complaints on the right side. Investigations showed that her bone turnover continued to be suppressed with Cross linked C- Telopeptide of type 1 collagen (CTX) of 165 pg/mL and an X-ray done showed AFF on the right side despite being off BPs. A second intra-medullary nailing was done and on follow-up, she has been symptom-free and independent in her daily activities. Discontinuation of BPs may not prevent the incident second AFF and, therefore, thus warranting long-term follow-up.

Learning points

  • Regular screening and follow-up of patients who receive long-term bisphosphonate (BP) therapy should be done.

  • Discontinuation of BPs does not preclude the possibility of repeated occurrence of a second AFF.

  • Long-term BP therapy warrants regular monitoring and follow-up should an AFF occur