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Bone. 2013 Dec;57(2):423-8. doi: 10.1016/j.bone.2013.09.008. Epub 2013 Sep 21.

Trends in osteoporosis treatment with oral and intravenous bisphosphonates in the United States, 2002-2012.

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Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology, Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, MD 20993, USA. Electronic address:


Bisphosphonates have been widely prescribed to postmenopausal women for treatment and prevention of osteoporosis. Given a background of reports of recent safety problems, questions about optimal duration of use, and the patent expiration of Fosamax in February 2008, we accessed data from pharmaceutical marketing research databases to describe trends in dispensed prescriptions and sales of oral bisphosphonates, characteristics of patients and prescribers, and sales of intravenous bisphosphonates for osteoporosis treatment. An estimated 21.3million prescriptions for oral bisphosphonates were dispensed in U.S. retail pharmacies in 2002 that increased 46% to a peak of 31.0million in 2007 and 2008, and declined by 53% in a four year-period to 14.7million in 2012. Sales data (number of packages sold in all settings of care) showed parallel trends (66% increase from 2002 through 2007 and 51% decrease from 2007 through 2012). Similarly, intravenous bisphosphonate sales for osteoporosis treatment grew 3.8-fold from 149.5 thousand packages in 2007 to 561.6 thousand in 2010, followed by a 22% decrease in 2012. Data from an ongoing monthly office-based survey indicated physicians mentioned oral bisphosphonates primarily in visits of older aged Caucasian women with lower body mass for osteoporosis. Frequencies of oral bisphosphonate mentions increased between 2002 and 2012 in visits of Asians and for osteopenia diagnoses. These data indicate a substantial decline in prescriptions and sales of oral (since 2007-2008) and intravenous (since 2010) bisphosphonates for osteoporosis treatment in the United States. Reasons for, and implications of, the decline should be considered for future research.


Alendronate; Bisphosphonates; Ibandronate; Osteoporosis; Risedronate

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