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Older Women Show Limited Understanding of Osteoporosis

Even after an osteoporosis-related fracture, few women are on pharmacotherapy

older woman playing tennis

FRIDAY, April 28, 2017 (HealthDay News) -- Many older women have low awareness about osteoporosis and its contribution to fracture risk and a lack of understanding about the benefits of osteoporosis pharmacotherapy, according to a study published April 19 in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

Denise M. Boudreau, Ph.D., from the Group Health Research Institute in Seattle , and colleagues surveyed 985 Female Group Health Cooperative enrollees aged 55 and older with an osteoporosis-related fracture sustained from January 2013 through March 2014.

The researchers found that of 634 eligible respondents, 84 percent did not undergo osteoporosis pharmacotherapy during the six months after their fracture. Fewer than 20 percent of respondents believed that osteoporosis caused their fracture, and 52 percent did not think they were at risk of future fracture. Seventy-five percent did not think or know whether osteoporosis pharmacotherapy reduces risk of fracture, although knowledge about osteoporosis and the benefits of treatment was higher in the 16 percent of women who underwent osteoporosis pharmacotherapy after their fracture. Women also reported low levels of engagement with their health care providers regarding osteoporosis and fracture risk management.

"Information about individual's beliefs and knowledge gaps can help design targeted patient and provider education to improve treatment rates," the authors write.

All authors of the study report financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry, including Amgen, which funded the study along with UCB Pharma.

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