New medications for osteoporosis, offering improved efficacy and convenient dosing, are associated with increased frequency of patient visits and treatment. The finding suggests new drug therapy contributes to increased disease recognition and treatment, according to an article in the July 26 issue of The Archives of Internal Medicine, one of the JAMA/Archives journals.
According to background information in the article, osteoporosis is a condition of low bone mass and deterioration of bone microarchitecture, leading to increased susceptibility to fracture and painful disease. Osteoporosis is determined clinically by bone mineral density (BMD) testing; its prevalence in the United States was approximately ten percent in 2000, using the World Health Organization definition of low BMD. Research on physicians’ prescribing practices for osteoporosis treatment is limited.
Randall S. Stafford, M.D., Ph.D., and colleagues from the Stanford Prevention Research Center, Stanford University, Palo Alto, Calif., tracked trends from 1988 to 2003 in the frequency of osteoporosis visits and patterns of pharmacotherapy associated with these visits. The authors used nationally representative data on prescribing patterns of office-based U.S. physicians from the IMS HEALTH National Disease and Therapeutic Index.
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