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Initiation of anti-osteoporotic drugs in high-risk female patients starting glucocorticoid treatment: a population study in Norway

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  • Ellen M. Apalset, University of Bergen, Haukeland University Hospital
  • ,
  • Astrid Lunde, University of Bergen
  • ,
  • Mari Hoff, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • ,
  • Vera Ehrenstein
  • Grethe S. Tell, University of Bergen

Summary: Glucocorticoid use is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures. We studied whether women initiating glucocorticoid treatment also started anti-osteoporotic treatment, according to clinical guidelines. Women with versus without previous fracture were twice as likely to start anti-osteoporotic treatment within 1 year after initiating glucocorticoid treatment, but the cumulative incidences were low 9.1% vs. 4.6%, respectively. Purpose: Use of glucocorticoids (GC) is a risk factor for osteoporosis and fractures, and clinical guidelines suggest that preventive treatment with anti-osteoporotic drugs (AOD) should be considered when starting GC. Women with high risk of osteoporosis comprise those with previous fractures or a known inflammatory rheumatic disease, for whom the indication of AOD is even stronger. The purpose of these analyses was to investigate whether women initiating GC treatment also started AOD, especially those with high risk of osteoporosis. Methods: We used data from the Norwegian Prescription Database to identify all women 55 years and older initiating GC treatment in Norway during 2010–2016 and to obtain information on use of AOD. Data from the Norwegian Patient Registry were used to obtain information on previous fractures and diagnoses. Results: Among 105,477 women initiating GC treatment during 2010–2016, 3256 had started AOD and 79,638 had discontinued GC treatment after 1-year follow-up. Cumulative incidence of starting AOD after 1 year was 9.1% (95% CI: 7.9, 10.4) for women with vs. 4.6% (95% CI: 4.4%, 4.8%) for women without a previous fracture. Women with rheumatoid arthritis or another inflammatory rheumatic disease were more likely to start AOD than women with other indications. For the whole cohort, the probability of starting AOD treatment within 1 year after initiating GC increased on average 3% per year (HR = 1.03, CI: 1.01, 1.05) from 2010 to 2016. Conclusions: Having had a previous fracture or an inflammatory rheumatic disease increased the probability of treatment with AOD. However, the proportions starting AOD were much lower than clinically indicated.

Original languageEnglish
Article number121
JournalArchives of Osteoporosis
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2020

    Research areas

  • Anti-osteoporotic drugs, Fracture, Glucocorticoids, Inflammatory rheumatic diseases, Osteoporosis

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