Many Osteoporosis Patients Quit Meds After Six Months

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Almost half of patients that begin therapy on popular osteoporosis drugs discontinue their treatment within six months, according to an analysis by SDI, a healthcare market insight and analytics firm.

Almost half of patients that begin therapy on popular osteoporosis drugs discontinue their treatment within six months, according to an analysis by SDI, a healthcare market insight and analytics firm.

The analysis found that patients taking alendronate, one of the most commonly prescribed drugs for osteoporosis, discontinue the drug six months later and 3% switch to another therapy. Additionally, after 12 months, 61% of new alendronate patients discontinue therapy.

Similar results occurred with the weekly version of actonel. For those taking Actonel once a week, 54% discontinued after six months and 64% discontinued after 12 months. For those taking Actonel once monthly, 47% discontinued after six months, a slight improvement, but at 12 months 63% discontinued.

With the oral form of Boniva, once monthly, 57% of patients discontinued therapy after six months and 70% discontinued after 12 months.

"Drug adherence is an issue that many in the healthcare industry struggle with, including physicians, pharmacies, and payers. If patients choose to discontinue therapy, they may be at a greater risk for progression of their disease or condition," said SDI Chief Medical Officer Gregory Hess, M.D., M.B.A., in a press release. "There are financial ramifications as well. Using drug therapy to treat osteoporosis is less expensive than treating a patient with a broken bone because they didn't adhere to therapy."

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