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Osteoporos Int. 2005 Mar;16(3):296-301. Epub 2004 Jun 17.

Follow-up treatment for osteoporosis after fracture.

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School of Public Health & Health Sciences, University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Amherst, MA, USA.


Studies of the management of osteoporosis in older women who have had hip or wrist fractures have found underdiagnosis and undertreatment of the disease. Few such studies have been conducted in the United States, however, and most studies have been confined to a subset of the treatments currently available to treat osteoporosis. Mail surveys were sent to 381 women between 50 and 84 years of age who had been treated for a hip or wrist fracture at a large northeast US teaching hospital between October 1, 1998, and September 30, 2000. These surveys included questions about osteoporosis risk factors and physician treatment both before and after the index fracture. Of 381 surveys mailed, 70 were returned because of an invalid address or by a relative because a patient was deceased. Of the remaining 311 surveys, 147 completed responses were received. Fifty-two percent of respondents reported having received either a prescription or a recommendation for a nonprescription medication used to treat osteoporosis before the fracture. After fracture, 60% of subjects were advised to take any osteoporosis medication, and 42% of were advised to take a prescription medication. Of women reporting no treatment advice before fracture, 33% reported treatment after. Twenty-four percent of patients reported a change in treatment after fracture versus before. No significant differences in treatment were found according to fracture history, maternal history of fracture, or maternal history of osteoporosis. Both prescription and nonprescription treatment prevalence after fracture were lower than expected, and there was only a small change in reported treatment prevalence after fracture versus before. There was also little difference in treatment prevalence based on risk factors for osteoporosis or osteoporotic fractures. A sizeable opportunity exists for intervention to reduce the risk of osteoporotic fractures for patients who have a history of fracture.

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