Prospective Observational Scientific Study Investigating Bone Loss Experience in Europe (POSSIBLE EU®) is an ongoing longitudinal cohort study that utilises physician- and patient-reported measures to describe the characteristics and management of postmenopausal women on bone loss therapies. We report the study design and baseline characteristics of 3,402 women recruited from general practice across five European countries.
The POSSIBLE EU® is a study describing the characteristics and management of postmenopausal women receiving bone loss medications.
Between 2005 and 2008, general practitioners enrolled postmenopausal women initiating, switching or continuing treatment with bone loss treatment in France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK. Patients and physicians completed questionnaires at study entry and at 3-month intervals, for 1 year.
Of 3,402 women enrolled (mean age 68.2 years [SD] 9.83), 96% were diagnosed with low bone mass; 55% of these using dual energy X-ray absorptiometry. Most women (92%) had comorbidities. Mean minimum T score (hip or spine) at diagnosis was −2.7 (SD 0.89; median −2.7 [interquartile range, −3.2, −2.2]) indicating low bone mineral density. Almost 40% of the women had prior fractures in adulthood, mostly non-vertebral, non-hip in nature, 30% of whom had at least two fractures and more than half experienced moderate/severe pain or fatigue. Bisphosphonates were the most common type of bone loss treatment prescribed in the 12 months preceding the study.
POSSIBLE EU® characterises postmenopausal women with low bone mass, exhibiting a high rate of prevalent fracture, substantial bone fragility and overall comorbidity burden. Clinical strategies for managing osteoporosis in this population varied across the five participating European countries, reflecting their different guidelines, regulations and standards of care.