, Volume 18, Issue 10, pp 1429-1433,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Feb 2007

Corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis prevention: longitudinal practice patterns in The Netherlands 2001–2005



We investigated prevention trends and predictors for osteoporosis prevention in long term corticosteroid users. The use of bisphosphonates increased from 2001 to 2005. Longer duration of corticosteroid use and DMARD use were predictors for receiving prevention. Females appear reasonably well treated; however, men require more attention.


Previous studies have shown that long-term corticosteroid users are undertreated for osteoporosis prevention. Our aim was to identify prevention trends in long-term corticosteroid users from 2001–2005 in The Netherlands and to identify predictors for bisphosphonate prophylaxis.


Pharmacy dispensing data were used from 9 community pharmacies. All oral corticosteroid doses were converted to “prednisolone equivalents”. We then identified long-term (≥90 days) corticosteroid episodes, which required bisphosphonate prophylaxis as per 2002 Dutch guidelines; Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify predictors for receiving prevention.


We identified 615 different corticosteroid patients requiring prophylaxis. From 2001–2005 the use of bisphosphonates increased from 38% to 54% (p = 0.001). In 2005 females were prescribed more bisphosphonates than males (61% vs. 39%; p = 0.002), or any treatment (72% vs. 45%; p < 0.001). Multivariate analysis showed that longer duration of corticosteroid use and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drug (DMARD) use were independent predictors of bisphosphonate use. Use of respiratory medication was a negative predictor of bisphosphonate use.


There has been a significant increase in osteoporosis prophylaxis in a population at high risk for osteoporosis/fractures. In particular, females appear reasonably well treated; however, men are still not receiving prevention to the same degree as women.