Vol 60, No 2 (2009)
Original paper
Published online: 2009-03-27

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Compliance with alendronate 10 treatment in elderly women with postmenopausal osteoporosis

Ewa Sewerynek, Katarzyna Dąbrowska, Elżbieta Skowrońska-Jóźwiak, Arkadiusz Zygmunt, Andrzej Lewiński
Endokrynol Pol 2009;60(2):76-81.


Introduction: It has been shown that more than 50% of people with a chronic disease, including osteoporosis, discontinue treatment during its first year. This problem increases with the time of observation. The aim of this study was to assess alendronate compliance over a period of 6 or 18 months in clinical practice of postmenopausal osteoporosis.
Material and methods: Using a retrospective study of clinical histories (357) obtained in our Outpatient Clinic, as well as telephone interviews with patients, the compliance with alendronate therapy in postmenopausal patients was assessed.
Results: After 1.5 years on observation 20.4% of patients, and after 0.5 years 8.5% of patients, discontinued their treatment as a result of intolerance (especially side effects on the gastrointestinal tract) (47.8%), health problems unrelated to osteoporosis (8.7%), inconvenience of the daily regimen (13.1%), costs (4.3%), and improvement of clinical condition (26.1%). It is worth mentioning that in both periods of observation (1.5 and 0.5 years) almost the same percentage of patient discontinued visits at our Outpatient Clinic (15.6% and 14.4%, respectively). Telephone interviews with patients who stopped attending the Outpatient Clinic at the Regional Centre of Menopause and Osteoporosis revealed that more than 50% of them discontinued the treatment.
Conclusions: Not all patients treated with alendronate are compliant. Osteoporosis is a chronic disease, which needs long clinical observation and constant adherence to medication. Effective communication between doctor and patient, and follow-up visits that are more frequent would greatly improve the adherence to osteoporosis treatment modalities. Compliant patients achieved increases in bone mass density with simultaneous fracture risk reduction.

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