Majority of osteoporosis patients not receiving calcium and vitamin D with treatment

September 15, 2008

New research published today at the annual meeting of the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR), Montréal, Canada, reveals that less than half (43%) of patients in Europe with osteoporosis are claiming to take both calcium and vitamin D supplementation with their osteoporosis treatment. Maximum benefit in managing osteoporosis can be achieved with combination therapy of an osteoporosis treatment (such as a bisphosphonate) with calcium and vitamin D supplementation, yet the majority of patients in this research claim they do not follow this approach.

"Patients with a low intake of calcium and vitamin D may not be receiving the full benefit of their osteoporosis treatment if they do not take enough supplementation", said Professor Steven Boonen MD, PhD, of Leuven University in Belgium and lead author of the abstract reporting the research results. "It is important that patients not only take both their calcium and vitamin D supplements, but also to ensure that they take them regularly".

The patient research was conducted amongst 383 women aged 50 years and older who had been diagnosed and treated for post-menopausal osteoporosis in France (n=97), Germany (n=98), Spain (n=94) and the UK (n=94). The aim of the study was to evaluate treatment knowledge and behaviour in women receiving treatment for their osteoporosis with regard to their calcium and vitamin D supplementation.

Patients need help to take supplementation regularly

Even when patients do take some form of supplementation, up to 30% claim they regularly miss a dose. An analysis of those patients who declared they were regularly missing a supplement dose revealed this was due either to the fact that they were not convinced of the importance of supplementation, or that they did not receive a detailed explanation from their treating physician. i Patient responses also showed that there is a need for some sort of aid, for example, a tool or packaging that would help them take their osteoporosis medication and supplementation. i This need for help is supported by patient preference data, which shows that over 70% of patients believe that providing a bisphosphonate with calcium and vitamin D in one box can help them take their supplements regularly and correctly.

Some European countries are performing better than others

The research highlights interesting differences in attitudes to supplementation across the four European countries. These study results showed that Spain generally proved to be a leader in terms of patient behaviour and knowledge about supplementation. For example, when looking at supplement use, 90% of patients in Spain claimed that they were taking some form of supplementation (calcium alone, vitamin D alone or calcium and vitamin D) with their osteoporosis treatment, compared to as few as 61% in the UK and 69% in France. i Similarly, patients in Spain claimed to discuss supplementation with their physician more regularly than in other countries - 51% compared to 36% in Germany, 24% in France and 9% in the UK.

Patient trends in the UK highlighted areas for improvement. As well as being the lowest users of supplements and one of the least likely to recognise the importance of calcium and vitamin D supplementation, almost a third of UK patients claimed to have never discussed supplementation with their physician.

When it came to adhering to supplements, women in France appeared to be the most disciplined out of the four countries, with only 13% claiming to regularly miss a dose of any supplement. This was in contrast to the UK, where almost one in three patients reported regularly missing a supplement dose.

"The disparities between countries in attitudes to supplementation may be due to differences in cultures, national health policies or local disease awareness initiatives" said Doctor Patrice Fardellone, of CHU Amiens Hospital in France. "Whilst this research has shown some positive results, there is still room for improvement. It is vital that clinicians continue to educate their patients on the importance of supplements and encourage them to see supplementation as part of complete osteoporosis treatment."

References

Boonen S, Fardellone P, Quesada J, et al. OP patients' behaviours and understanding of the importance of calcium and vitamin D supplementation. ASBMR [abstract] September 2008

Boonen, S et al. The need for clinical guidance in the use of calcium and vitamin D in the management of osteoporosis: a consensus report. Osteoporosis International, 2004; 15:511-519

Fardellone P, et al. A new combination packaging for osteoporosis treatment; patient preference and expected adherence to the therapy. Calcified Tissue International, 2007;80(supp 1):s143 (P332-T)

Osteoporosis supplement co-prescribing versus recommendation compliance study. IPSOS Suisse. December 2007. P&G data on file

Melton LJ, et al. Perspective. How many women have osteoporosis? J Bone Miner Res 1992; 7: 1005-1010

International Osteoporosis Foundation. Facts and statistics about osteoporosis and its impact. www.osteofound.org/press_centre/fact_sheet.html

Cooper C, Atkinson EJ, Jacobsen SJ, et al. Population-based study of survival after osteoporotic fractures. Am J Epidemiol 1993; 137:1001-1005

Leibson CL, Tosteson AN, Gabriel SE, et al. Mortality, disability, and nursing home use for persons with and without hip fracture: a population-based study. J Am Geriatr Soc 2002; 50: 1644-1650

Magaziner J, Simonsick EM, Kashner TM, et al. Predictors of functional recovery one year following hospital discharge for hip fracture: a prospective study. J Gerontol 1990; 45: M101-M107

Source: Ketchum

Explore further: Taking four or more prescription meds? Consider scaling back

Related Stories

Taking four or more prescription meds? Consider scaling back

November 1, 2017
(HealthDay)—More than half of Americans regularly take about four prescription medications, increasing the likelihood that mistakes could occur, according to Consumer Reports.

Exercise may be best intervention to prevent falls among elderly, according to new study

November 7, 2017
Exercise alone or in combination with other assessments and interventions appears to be the most effective strategy for preventing falls causing injury among older people, a new study has found.

Exercise, not vitamin D, recommended to prevent falls

September 27, 2017
(HealthDay)—Falls and fractures are a major cause of disability in old age. An influential U.S. medical task force is recommending exercise and, in some cases, medical evaluation to help seniors stay on their feet.

Obesity may be a factor for fractures

October 20, 2017
Does body fat protect you against osteoporosis or make you more vulnerable to fractures? A new study by the University of South Australia hopes to shed light on this question.

Meta-analysis indicates widespread use of vitamin D supplements to prevent osteoporosis in healthy adults unjustified

October 10, 2013
Taking vitamin D supplements does not improve bone mineral density at the total hip, spine, forearm, or in the body as a whole, a large meta-analysis involving more than 4,000 healthy adults published in The Lancet has found. ...

Commercial ties may be fueling unnecessary and potentially harmful osteoporosis treatment

July 21, 2015
A complex web of interactions between industry, advocacy organisations, and academia may be fuelling enthusiasm for calcium and vitamin D supplements to prevent and treat osteoporosis, despite evidence of lack of benefit, ...

Recommended for you

Study opens new avenue in quest to develop tuberculosis vaccine

November 24, 2017
A team of scientists led by the University of Southampton has taken an important step forward in research efforts that could one day lead to an effective vaccine against the world's deadliest infectious disease.

Four simple tests could help GPs spot pneumonia and reduce unnecessary antibiotics

November 23, 2017
Testing for fever, high pulse rate, crackly breath sounds, and low oxygen levels could be key to helping GPs distinguish pneumonia from less serious infections, according to a large study published in the European Respiratory ...

New approach to tracking how deadly 'superbugs' travel could slow their spread

November 22, 2017
Killer bacteria - ones that have out-evolved our best antibiotics—may not go away anytime soon. But a new approach to tracking their spread could eventually give us a fighting chance to keep their death toll down.

Research points to diagnostic test for top cause of liver transplant in kids

November 22, 2017
Biliary atresia is the most common cause of liver transplants for children in the United States. Now researchers report in Science Translational Medicine finding a strong biomarker candidate that could be used for earlier ...

Alcohol consumption and metabolic factors act together to increase the risk of severe liver disease

November 22, 2017
A new study provides insights into the interaction between alcohol consumption and metabolic factors in predicting severe liver disease in the general population. The findings, which are published in Hepatology, indicate ...

Metabolites altered in chronic kidney disease

November 22, 2017
Chronic kidney disease (CKD) affects 1 in 7 people in the United States, according to the U.S. National Institute of Diabetes & Digestive & Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). These individuals have a very high risk of cardiovascular ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.