- •We found substantial pharmacological under-treatment as well as over-treatment of osteoporosis in nursing home residents.
- •Substantial country differences were found.
- •Efforts are needed to improve pharmacotherapy in nursing home residents.
To prevent osteoporotic fractures in nursing home residents a combination of bisphosphonates, calcium and vitamin D is recommended. This study assessed the prevalence of pharmacological osteoporosis prevention in nursing home residents from eight countries, and assessed its association with patient characteristics.
Cross-sectional analyses of the SHELTER study data. We assessed the overall prevalence of osteoporosis medication (OM) use (vitamin D, calcium and bisphosphonates) in residents stratified for falls and fractures over last 30 days, health instability with high mortality risk, cognitive impairment, and dependence in walking.
Setting and Participants
Nursing home residents in the Czech Republic, England, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, The Netherlands and Israel.
Of 3832 eligible residents, vitamin D, calcium and bisphosphonates were used by 16.2%, 10.4%, and 4.5% respectively. All 3 classes of OM together were used by 1.5% of all residents. Of residents with a recent fracture, 9.5% used a bisphosphonate (2.7% all 3 OMs). In patients with recent falls, 20.8% used vitamin D and 15.3% calcium. In residents with severe cognitive impairment, 15.5% used vitamin D and 9.3% used calcium. Of the bisphosphonate users, 33.7% also used both vitamin D and calcium, 25.8% used only calcium in addition and 17.4% only vitamin D in addition. The use of any OM varied widely across countries, from 66.8% in Finland to 3.0% in Israel.
Conclusions and Implications
We found substantial pharmacological under-treatment of prevention of osteoporosis in residents with recent falls, fractures and dependence in walking. Only two-thirds of bisphosphonate users also took a vitamin D–calcium combination, despite guideline recommendations. On the other hand, possible over-treatment was found in residents with high mortality risk in whom preventive pharmacotherapy might not have still been appropriate. The prevalence of pharmacological prevention of osteoporosis differed substantially between countries. Efforts are needed to improve pharmacotherapy in residents.
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Published online: October 31, 2020
Accepted: October 27, 2020
Received in revised form: August 15, 2020
Received: November 6, 2019
© 2020 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.