The study wasn’t a controlled experiment designed to prove whether or how osteoporosis medication use directly reduces the risk of fractures or increases health costs.
Still, the results should reassure patients about the effectiveness of osteoporosis medicines when taken as directed, says Matthew Drake, MD, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“But they don’t work nearly as effectively when patients do not continue with them,” Dr. Drake, who wasn’t involved in the study, says by email.
For elderly patients in particular, fractures can lead to significant reductions in both independence and quality of life, Dr. Drake adds. Doctors and patients should consider this when weighing whether to start or stop osteoporosis drugs, he said.
“Some use is better than no use,” says Daniel Solomon, MD, MPH, a researcher at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston who wasn’t involved in the study.
“However, using the drugs as prescribed is always recommended,” Dr. Solomon says by email.
- Liu J, Guo H, Rai P, et al. Medication persistence and risk of fracture among female Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with osteoporosis. Osteoporos Int. 2018 Jul 18. doi: 10.1007/s00198-018-4630-6. [Epub ahead of print]