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Osteoporos Int. 2004 Sep;15(9):689-94. Epub 2004 Jun 17.

Calcium supplement and osteoporosis medication use in women and men with recent fractures.

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Brookline Associates of Internal Medicine, Brighton, MA, USA.


Patients with low-trauma fractures are at risk of future fractures and so should be evaluated and treated for osteoporosis. This study was conducted to assess and compare bone medication use and calcium and vitamin D intake at the time of and after an acute fracture. One hundred and six patients, mean age 66.7+/-10.3 years, were administered medical history and diet questionnaires at enrollment (in an urban hospital) and again 6 and 12 months later (by telephone). Of 86 patients who could be contacted 6 months after their fracture, 36.2% of the women and 7.4% of the men had recently discussed osteoporosis with their primary care doctor. At 6 months, 24.2% of the women and 3.6% of the men were taking bone medications (compared with 27.8% and 3.6% before the fracture; NS). At 6 months, 52.6% of the women and 10.7% of the men indicated that their doctor had recently recommended calcium or vitamin D. Among the women who had recently been advised by their primary care doctor to use calcium or vitamin D, supplement use increased from 63.3% to 90.0% (P = 0.021) and dairy food intake increased from 1.5+/-1.1 to 2.4+/-1.9 servings/day (P = 0.016). Only three men received this advice and two of them heeded it. Among women and men not receiving this advice, there was no significant increase in calcium supplement use or dairy food intake. At 12 months, the treatment profiles were unchanged from 6 months and 9.6% of the women and 4.3% of the men had had another fracture. In conclusion, the occurrence of a fracture did not increase likelihood of pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis. After their fractures, the women did increase their intake of calcium supplements and dairy foods when this was recommended by their doctor. This suggests that the primary care physician is well positioned to bring about much needed change in the quality of care of fracture patients.

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