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21-12-2010 | Bone health | Article

Better strategies needed to ensure osteoporosis treatment compliance


Free abstract

MedWire News: Nearly 80% of people who are prescribed combined calcium and vitamin D (CaVitD) supplements either eventually stop taking them completely or do not take them as prescribed, Spanish research shows.

These results "reinforce the need to establish educational programs… to improve the interaction of health-care professionals with patients regarding treatment adherence," write Camil Castelo-Branco (Hospital Clínic Villarroel, Barcelona) and colleagues in the journal Climacteric.

The researchers carried out the study to estimate the level of persistence and compliance with CaVitD supplementation among Spanish patients.

A total of 1342 primary-care physicians recruited 7624 patients, aged 45 years or older, who had been prescribed with CaVitD at least 1 year prior to the study. The majority (93%) of participants were postmenopausal women.

Approximately half (48.9%) of patients had been prescribed CaVitD between 2 and 5 years prior to the study. The main reasons for the prescription were osteoporosis (56.3%), presence of previous fractures (33.3%), and onset of a menopausal or postmenopausal condition (28.3%).

Castelo-Branco and team found that 27.7% of patients had discontinued CaVitD treatment at the time of the study, mainly because they were weary of long-term treatment (50.7%) and the inconvenience of the regimen conditions (25.1%).

Among those patients who continued the treatment, only 31.2% took the medication as prescribed. Therefore, of all the patients analyzed, only 22.1% complied with the CaVitD treatment, and there were no significant differences between men and women.

Of note, non-persistent patients were more likely to be smokers, alcohol consumers, have a long immobilization history, malabsorption syndrome, and previous fractures, than patients who persisted with treatment.

Castelo-Branco remarked: "The amount of people who give up on treatment, or don't take the medicine properly, is a real and recognised concern, and is one of the biggest problems in medical treatment."

"We need to develop effective strategies to ensure that patients continue to take osteoporosis medicines, and that they do so properly," she added, suggesting that simplifying the way that patients take the medication or better educating patients about the disease and its treatment could be helpful.

MedWire ( is an independent clinical news service provided by Current Medicine Group, a trading division of Springer Healthcare Limited. © Springer Healthcare Ltd; 2010

Laura Dean

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