Patients Do Not Stick with Osteoporosis Therapy

Published Online: Saturday, January 1, 2005

A study on postmenopausal osteoporosis found that women taking bisphosphonates do not stay with the treatments or take them as directed. Adherence to therapy involves both persistence and compliance. In a study examining persistence over 1 year, the researchers found that only 30% and 14% of women new to weekly or daily bisphosphonate therapy, respectively, had prescriptions filled covering 271 days. The findings were based on prescription data from US pharmacies over 1 year in >200,000 women 50 years and older taking daily (33,767 women) or weekly (177,552 women) bisphosphonates.

"Osteoporosis is a chronic condition that requires patients to take their medication as directed over the long term to get the full benefit," said lead investigator Joyce A. Cramer, associate research scientist, Yale University School of Medicine. Presenting the findings at the recent annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society, the researchers said that the results are a major concern. Previous studies showed that poor adherence with osteoporosis therapy resulted in less gain in bone mineral density, increased chance for bone fractures, and additional health care costs.

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