Department of Endocrinology and Diabetes, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, Nedlands, WA 6009, Australia.
Paget’s disease of bone is common, affecting up to 4% of Australians over the age of 55 years. The incidence of the disease and the severity of newly diagnosed cases appear to be falling, for unknown reasons. The cause of Paget’s disease is unknown, but there is a strong genetic influence. Recently, mutations in the sequestosome 1/p62 gene have been identified as a cause of familial Paget’s disease and of some apparently sporadic cases of the disease. The disease is often asymptomatic, but can cause bone pain, deformity, fracture and other complications. Paget’s disease is eminently treatable. Potent bisphosphonates such as pamidronate, alendronate and risedronate relieve symptoms and may reduce the risk of complications. The Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme subsidises treatment only for patients with symptomatic disease. A strong case be made for also treating asymptomatic patients with involvement of long bones, vertebrae or base of skull, patients with significant osteolytic lesions, and perhaps all younger patients.
Med J Aust. 2004 Sep 6;181(5):262-5.