New study suggests UK rates of osteoporosis treatment for women are falling
• Rates of osteoporosis treatment rose from 1990 to 2006 in women but declined from 2006, despite growing elderly population
• Rates of osteoporosis treatment also rose in men but levelled off from 2006
• Marked differences in rates by geographic location, with highest rates in Northern Ireland and lowest in parts of England
May 18, 2016, Rome, Italy. Press Dispensary. A UK-wide study looking at the prescribing of anti-osteoporotic drugs (AOD) to people aged 50 years or above has found that, since 2006, AOD prescription rates for women have decreased and rates for men have levelled off, despite a growing elderly population and associated fracture risks. This followed a steep rise in prescribing rates since 1990. Furthermore there was marked geographic variation in prescribing rates, with greatest rates for men and women in Northern Ireland and the lowest rates for women in the East Midlands and men in Yorkshire and Humberside.
The study, funded by the UK National Osteoporosis Society and Medical Research Council, used data from the UK Clinical Practice Research Datalink, a general practice based dataset including information on 7% of the UK population. The researchers analysed AOD prescriptions from 1990 to 2012, and also found that far more women than men were prescribed AOD and that the rate of prescription increased with age, up to the age of 85-89 years where women were more than twice as likely as men to be prescribed AODs. White and Asian women were twice as likely to be receiving AOD prescriptions as black women.
The study findings were unveiled in Rome today by Robert van der Velde, speaking at ECTS 2016, the 43rd annual congress of the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS). The study was carried out by Dr van der Velde, Consultant Endocrinologist at the Maastricht University Medical Centre and VieCuri Medical Centre, both in the Netherlands, with colleagues from the Netherlands and Belgium as well as from Southampton, Oxford and Manchester in the UK.
Dr van der Velde said: "The finding of geographic variation in antiosteoporosis medication prescriptions is likely to reflect a range of factors, such as differences in age structure of the population, ethnic mix and socioeconomic status between the different regions of the UK. Further work will be required to investigate whether these differences also reflect variations in approaches to the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis, for example after hospital admission for a hip fracture."
He added: "The decline in antiosteoporosis medication prescriptions over the last 10 years is concerning, particularly in the context of an ever more elderly population, in which many fracture types are becoming more common. Other work from the CPRD has demonstrated an increase in rates of treatment for osteoporosis following a hip fracture, but still only just over half such patients receive treatment - there is a clear and urgent need for the field to close this care gap."
Professor Nicholas Harvey, Professor of Rheumatology and Clinical Epidemiology at the MRC Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, who oversaw the study, commented: "This work forms part of a larger series of studies, funded by the UK National Osteoporosis Society and Medical Research Council, in which we comprehensively assess the impact of fragility fractures in the UK. The current study, in combination with recent papers describing the burden of osteoporotic fracture in the UK population, gives really important information which will inform health planners not just in the UK, but in many other countries."
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Notes for editors
About the study
The study, titled "Secular Trends In Prescription Incidence Of Different Anti-Osteoporotic Drugs In The UK Population Aged 50 Years Or Above From 1990 Till 2012", involved research by eight members from the VieCuri Medical Centre and Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, Hasselt University in Belgium, Medical Research Council Lifecourse Epidemiology Unit, University of Southampton, the University of Oxford and the University of Manchester in the UK.
Its objective was to study retrospectively the trends in prescription of different anti-osteoporotic drugs (AOD) in the UK population aged 50 years or above from 1990 till 2012. The incidence of prescription of a specific AOD was calculated by dividing the number of prescriptions by the total person-years (py) of follow-up.
The study detail showed that AOD prescription increased in women from 1990 till 2006 (from 2.3/10,000py to 169.7/10,000 py), followed by a plateau of two years and subsequently a 12% decrease in the last four years, while in men a steep increase from 1990-2007 (from 1.4/10,000 py to 45/10,000 py) was followed by a plateau.
Prescriptions for AOD increased with age, with the biggest increment in women, up to the age group of 85-89 in which the incidence was 248.9/10,000 py in women and 119.3/10,000 py in men. There were significant regional differences as described and a marked difference between ethnic groups with the highest differences seen in women, where the incidence in black women is only half that in white and Asian women.
AOD prescriptions were mostly bisphosphonates (> 90%). Until 2000 etidronate was the dominant bisphosphonate, after 2000 this was alendronate.
About ECTS 2016
ECTS 2016 is the 43rd annual congress of the European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), held in Rome, Italy on May 14-17, 2016, in collaboration with the Cancer and Bone Society.
ECTS 2016 gives delegates the opportunity to collaborate with leading international researchers and clinical colleagues. Main discussion points are the latest in high quality science and research to benefit clinical practice.
ECTS 2017, the 44th congress, will be held in Salzberg, Austria, May 13-16, 2017.
See http://ects2017.org .
About The European Calcified Tissue Society
The European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) is the major organisation in Europe for researchers and clinicians working in the field of calcified tissues and related fields. ECTS acts as a forum for the dissemination of high quality research through its annual meeting, the European Symposium on Calcified Tissues, and through training courses and workshops.
Calcified tissues are central to a healthy skeleton and to bone disorders - such as osteoporosis, back pain and fractures - that make life a misery for countless people. Children can inherit some forms of bone diseases causing bone pain, shortness and deformed limbs.
For further information, please contact:
Roberta Mugnai, ECTS executive director
European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS)
Tel: + 32 476 520 716
ECTS 2016: http://2016.ectscongress.org/
Event hashtag: https://twitter.com/hashtag/ECTS2016