Persistent bisphosphonate use and the risk of osteoporotic fractures in clinical practice: A database analysis study

C. H.A. Van Den Boogaard, N. S. Breekveldt-Postma*, S. E. Borggreve, W. G. Goettsch, R. M.C. Herings

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Introduction: International guidelines on the treatment and prevention of osteoporosis recommend the use of bisphosphonates to prevent fractures in this population. However, low persistent use of bisphosphonates could considerably limit the prevention of fractures in clinical practice. Objective: This study aimed to investigate the association between persistent use of bisphosphonates and the risk of osteoporotic fractures in clinical practice. Methods: Data were obtained from the PHARMO Record Linkage System, which includes, among other databases, drug-dispensing records from community pharmacies linked to hospital discharge records of more than two million subjects in defined areas in the Netherlands. Persistence with bisphosphonate therapy was assessed during a period of 3 years. A nested matched case control study (cases:controls = 1:10) was performed to study the association between persistent bisphosphonate use and hospitalisation for osteoporotic fractures and analysed by conditional logistic regression analysis. The analyses were adjusted for patient characteristics such as previous hospitalisations for fractures, co-morbidity and co-medication. Results: 14760 new female users of bisphosphonates were identified of which 541 women had a hospitalisation for osteoporotic fracture after start of bisphosphonate treatment (1-3 years follow-up). One-year persistence rates increased from 33% with alendronate daily to 48% with alendronate weekly, an increase of 15%. Similar results were obtained with risedronate daily and weekly. One year persistent use of bisphosphonates resulted in a statistical significant 26% lower fracture rate (OR 0.74; 95%CI 0.57-0.95) whereas 2 year persistent use resulted in a 32% lower rate (OR 0.68; 95%CI 0.47-0.96). Conclusions: Persistent use of bisphosphonates decreases the risk of osteoporotic fractures in clinical practice. Approximately 6% of fractures among users of bisphosphonates could be prevented if persistence was improved by 20%. However, current persistence with bisphosphonate therapy is suboptimal and strategies that further increase persistence are likely to further prevent the number of fractures.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1757-1764
Number of pages8
JournalCurrent Medical Research and Opinion
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2006

Cite this