Fragility fractures in France: epidemiology, characteristics and quality of life (the EPIFRACT study)



Between 1 and 2% of people aged 50 years and over living at home in France are likely to experience a fragility fracture each year. Three-quarters of these individuals are not diagnosed with osteoporosis and lose the opportunity for appropriate care.


To estimate the incidence of fragility fractures in France and to describe the characteristics of individuals with such fractures and of their fractures.


In April–May 2018, a postal survey was performed in France targeting a representative panel of 15,000 individuals aged ≥ 50 years, who were invited to complete a questionnaire. If they reported experiencing a fracture in the previous 3 years, they were asked to provide information on demographics, fracture type, risk factors for fractures and osteoporosis diagnosis. Only fragility fractures were considered, and these were classified as major (associated with increased mortality) or minor, based on the fracture site.


Around 13,914 panellists returned an exploitable questionnaire (92.8%). About 425 participants reported ≥ 1 fragility fracture (453 fractures), corresponding to a 12-month incidence rate of 1.4% [95%CI: 1.2, 1.6]. Incidence was higher in women (1.99% [1.87, 2.05]) than in men (0.69% [0.38, 0.86]) and increased with age. Around 157 fractures (34.6%) were classified as major. Participants reporting major fractures were older than those reporting minor fractures (mean age: 72.6 ± 11.3 vs 67.1 ± 10.6) and more likely to report previous corticosteroid use (odds ratio: 1.90 [95%CI: 1.13, 3.18]). No other patient characteristic was associated with fracture severity. About 117 participants with fractures (27.5%) had undergone bone densitometry, and 97 (22.8%) declared having received a diagnosis of osteoporosis.


Around 340,000 people aged ≥ 50 years living at home in France are estimated to experience osteoporotic fractures each year. However, > 75% of panellists reporting fractures were never diagnosed with osteoporosis and thus did not have the opportunity to receive appropriate care.

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The study was jointly conducted and funded by the AFLAR, Amgen and UCB Pharma S.A., France, who initiated the study and supervised its implementation and the exploitation of the findings, including the preparation of this manuscript. Editorial support was provided by Foxymed, funded by UCB Pharma S.A.

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Correspondence to Bernard Cortet.

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Conflict of interest

JMJ and BV are employees of UCB Pharma S.A., France. BC has received consultancy honoraria of speaker’s fees from Amgen, Expanscience, Ferring, Lilly, Medtronic, MSD, Novartis, Roche diagnostics, Théramex and UCB Pharma S.A. JMF has received consultancy honoraria and conference fees from UCB Pharma S.A., Amgen and Lilly. LG has received honoraria from Amgen, Lilly and UCB Pharma S.A. and research support from Lilly, Amgen, UCB Pharma, Expanscience, Mylan, Roche diagnostics and TEVA. KB has received consultancy honoraria and conference fees from UCB Pharma S.A., Amgen, Lilly and MSD. No other authors report conflicts of interest.

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Cortet, B., Chauvin, P., Feron, JM. et al. Fragility fractures in France: epidemiology, characteristics and quality of life (the EPIFRACT study). Arch Osteoporos 15, 46 (2020).

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  • Fracture
  • Osteoporosis
  • Falls
  • Diagnosis
  • Risk factors
  • France