Impact of subsidizing effective anti-osteoporosis drugs on compliance with management guidelines in patients following low-impact fractures
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- Liel, Y., Castel, H. & Bonneh, D.Y. Osteoporos Int (2003) 14: 490. doi:10.1007/s00198-003-1393-4
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Early in 2000, proven-effective antiresorptive drugs (alendronate and raloxifene) were included in the national "health basket" in Israel. We carried out the present study to evaluate the effect of subsidizing antiosteoporosis drugs on the use of antiosteoporosis drugs in patients following low-impact fractures. The rates of dispensation of antiosteoporosis drugs, in the hospital and in the community, before and after an incident of a newly diagnosed low-impact fracture, respectively, were evaluated during January and February 1998 and 1999 ("pre-basket") and the corresponding months of 2000 and 2001 ("post-basket"). The study was carried out in a 950-bed teaching hospital, the only one serving the area, and the largest health maintenance organization in the area. Hospital charts of women and men age 50 years and older with new fractures following low- or moderate-impact trauma treated in the emergency room, or admitted to the orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation departments, were reviewed. A centralized pharmacy computerized database was used to follow antiosteoporosis drug dispensation in the community. A significant, approximately two-fold, increase in the baseline (before fracture) rate of osteoporosis drug dispensation was observed between the pre- and post-basket periods. The rate of patients treated after a fracture incident also increased significantly, 1.6 fold, in the post-basket period; however, even in the post-basket period, two-thirds of the patients remained untreated following a fracture incident, and most of those treated received only calcium and vitamin D; only 17% received potent antiosteoporosis drugs. In a multivariate analysis, female gender, hospitalization, having the incident of fracture in the post-basket period, and above all being treated for osteoporosis before the fracture incident, had the greatest effect on the likelihood of being treated following a low-impact fracture incident. The increase in the pooled use of antiosteoporosis drugs and/or calcium/vitamin D supplements was continuous, and subsidizing created no step-up effect, besides a transient increase in the use of potent antiosteoporosis drugs in the first year following the health-basket amendment. We conclude that while subsidizing may have a significant, positive effect on antiosteoporosis drug utilization, other factors may be even more important. There is an ongoing need to find ways to encourage the use of effective pharmacological interventions for primary and secondary prevention of osteoporotic fractures.