ROS provides information on shortage of blood test tubes and need to continue with denosumab

Treatment | Expertise

03 Sep 2021

Supply issues with blood test tubes in the NHS is leading to a chronic shortage that may continue beyond the end of September. Doctors are being urged to postpone non-urgent blood tests and there are concerns that this could result in delays to the osteoporosis drug treatment, denosumab.

Denosumab is a safe and effective treatment to strengthen bones and reduce the risk of fractures, but it needs to be given promptly every six months. The injection can be given a month early or late, however further delay could result in the drug benefits wearing off very quickly leading to ‘rebound’ fractures.

Before the injection is given, a calcium blood test is usually required. Although this is essential for some patients, others might be able to go ahead with their injection without a blood test.

Dr Nicola Peel, Metabolic Bone Consultant and Chair of the ROS Clinical Committee, said:

“Once again, as at the start of the pandemic, pragmatic decisions need to be made.  The important message is that denosumab mustn’t be delayed. This means some patients need to be prioritised for a calcium blood test. However, others might be managed without a blood test, as long as their health care professional has assessed them and ensured they are getting sufficient calcium.”

We have added information to our website to support healthcare professionals with this issue, to ensure that everyone who needs denosumab continues to receive it to protect their bones. Find out more here.