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OBJECTIVES—Osteoporosis is a major cause of morbidity and cost. Patients sustaining one osteoporotic fracture are at increased risk of having another fracture. The objective of this study was to examine the use of "bone drugs" for the prevention of further osteoporotic fractures among patients who have had a "typical" osteoporotic fracture.
METHODS—This study took a random sample of 300 women aged 50 and over who had sustained either a vertebral, hip or Colles fracture in 1995 from the General Practice Research Database (GPRD) and compared their use of bone drugs with 300 age and practice matched controls.
RESULTS—Compared with age and practice matched control patients only vertebral fracture patients showed a statistically significant increase in the use of bone drugs in the year after fracture (39% and 2% for cases and controls respectively; 95% CI of difference 27% to 47%). Etidronate was the most commonly used compound.
CONCLUSION—The majority of patients sustaining an osteoporotic fracture are not prescribed any pharmaceutical agents for the secondary prevention of fracture one year after a primary fracture.
Keywords: osteoporosis; fracture