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Drugs. 2006;66(10):1351-9.

Treating osteoporosis with bisphosphonates and addressing adherence: a review of oral ibandronate.

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Osteoporosis Research Group, Department of Radiology, University of Washington Medical Center, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Osteoporosis is a common, chronic condition, affecting approximately half of all postmenopausal Caucasian women in the US. Vertebral fractures occur as a result of osteoporosis and lead to increased hospitalisation and mortality, and adversely affect patient quality of life. The burden of osteoporosis on healthcare systems is expected to rise as the elderly population continues to grow. Yet there are many medications for preventing and treating osteoporosis. Oral bisphosphonates are first-line treatment for osteoporosis, with demonstrated efficacy in increasing bone mineral density and reducing bone turnover, which reduces the incidence of fractures. However, adherence to medication is suboptimal, with approximately 40% of patients discontinuing treatment within 6 months. Recent reports have suggested simplifying the dosage regimen as a strategy to help address this issue. Ibandronate is a potent, nitrogen-containing bisphosphonate which is administered once-monthly. Preclinical studies initially revealed the feasibility of extending the between-dose interval. Subsequent clinical studies have provided further evidence of the positive effects of extended-interval ibandronate administration in reducing the risk of vertebral fractures through increasing bone mineral density and reducing bone turnover without compromising bone quality. These studies have also demonstrated that ibandronate has a safety profile similar to placebo. Ibandronate has recently been approved for use in the US to treat postmenopausal osteoporosis. This review summarises the efficacy and safety of once-monthly oral ibandronate and discusses the implications of such a treatment in primary care in the US.

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