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A multifaceted intervention to improve treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with wrist fractures: a cluster randomized trial

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In a cluster randomized trial, we evaluated the effect of a multifaceted intervention (directed at both patient and primary care physician) on the rates of testing and treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women within six months of their wrist fracture. Compared to usual care, women in the intervention practices were three times more likely to receive bone mineral density testing and prescribed osteoporosis treatments.


Postmenopausal women with wrist fractures are at increased risk of future fragility fractures, yet they frequently do not receive evaluation and treatment for osteoporosis. We set out to evaluate a multifaceted intervention designed to improve management of osteoporosis in older women with recent wrist fractures.


Cluster randomized trial of 270 women cared for in 119 primary care practices. We recruited postmenopausal women with an acute wrist fracture from the emergency departments of hospitals in southeastern Ontario, Canada. Family practices were randomly assigned to either the intervention or usual care. The intervention consisted of a mailed reminder with a summary of treatment guidelines and letter sent to the primary care physician, in addition to an educational package and letter to the women. The primary outcome was the proportion of women prescribed osteoporosis therapy within 6 months of their fracture.


The mean age of women was 69(10.9) years. The intervention increased the proportion of women started on osteoporosis medications (28% vs. 10%) of controls, adjusted OR 3.45, 95% CI, 1.58–7.56, p = 0.002) and the proportion who had a bone mineral density (BMD) test (53.3% vs. 26%) of controls, OR 3.38, 95% CI, 1.83–6.26, p < 0.001). In addition to the intervention, having a female physician was a predictor of increased testing and treatment rates.


A multifaceted intervention significantly improved rates of osteoporosis treatment and BMD testing in postmenopausal women with wrist fractures.

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We would like to thank the staff in the emergency departments and fracture clinics of the Kingston, Brockville, Belleville, Perth/Smith Falls and Prince Edward County hospitals for their enthusiastic assistance with this research. A. Cranney and M. B. Harrison received salary support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. J. Grimshaw holds a Canada Research Chair.

Conflicts of interest

A. Cranney has received speaker fees from MerckFrosst and Procter and Gamble.

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Correspondence to A. Cranney.

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Funding: This trial was funded by a peer-reviewed grant from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (KTS 62358).

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Cranney, A., Lam, M., Ruhland, L. et al. A multifaceted intervention to improve treatment of osteoporosis in postmenopausal women with wrist fractures: a cluster randomized trial. Osteoporos Int 19, 1733–1740 (2008).

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