Background Management of osteoporosis is imperfect because patients may not start, persist or comply with treatment. This study was aimed to identify baseline variables associated with women failing to start, persist or comply with bisphosphonate treatment.
Methods 254 women >50 years old were selected 5 years after having a bone densitometry (bone mineral density (BMD)) diagnosis of osteoporosis. At the outset, information about osteoporosis was sent to the general practitioner (GP). Women were not under pressure at the outset to start or comply, and they and their GP were unaware that follow-up studies would take place. Patient survival was identified from the National Health Service Strategic Tracing Service, prescription data from GP records and baseline data from the initial questionnaire. Persistence was defined as at least one prescription issued per year and compliance as having a medicine possession ratio of ≥80% for each of 5 years.
Results 38% failed to start treatment. Failure was associated with higher BMD Z score and residence in a nursing/residential home. Half of those starting and alive at 5 years persisted with treatment, whereas only 23% achieved a medicine possession ratio of ≥80%. Persistence was associated with a lower comorbidity index and compliance with a lower BMD Z score and a fall before starting treatment.
Conclusions Treatment was low, especially in nursing/residential homes where known low treatment prevalence appears to be associated with non-initiation. The degree of depression of BMD (not just low BMD) was associated with better initiation and compliance. The association of falls with compliance suggests that fall clinics may be able to play a part in improving osteoporosis management.
- forearm bone density
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