Sticking With Meds Lowers Elderly Fracture Risk

Skipping osteoporosis drugs is top risk factor for injury, study finds

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THURSDAY, Nov. 8, 2007 (HealthDay News) -- Helping people with osteoporosis stick to their medications may cut their risk for fracture, Canadian researchers report.

When an osteoporosis patient suffers a fracture, there's an increased risk of additional fractures, other health problems, and death. The most common types of fractures in osteoporosis patients are hip, spine, and wrist fractures.

This new study looked at more than 74,000 women and men aged 67 and older. During the two-year trial, there were a total of 1,751 (2.4 percent) fractures among the study population.

The researchers found that the main predictor of fracture was patient compliance with prescription drug refills.

Patients who followed their osteoporosis treatment routine and had a prescription refill compliance rate of at least 67 percent were much less likely to suffer a fracture during the study period, the researchers said. Younger age, being female, and regular bone density testing were other factors found to be associated with a lower fracture risk.

The study was to be presented Wednesday at an American College of Rheumatology meeting in Boston, Mass.

Fracture can be a serious event for older Americans. "A year after hip fracture, a significant proportion of patients (about 20 percent) are dead, and another group can no longer live independently and require long-term nursing care, so we really want to avoid these fractures," researcher Dr. Gillian Hawker, a professor of medicine at Women's College Hospital, University of Toronto, said in a prepared statement.

More information

The National Osteoporosis Foundation has more about osteoporosis.

SOURCE: American College of Rheumatology, news release, Nov. 7, 2007


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