National Osteoporosis month, June 2006

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The Health and Fitness Blog

The Health & Fitness Blog is a collection of diary entries, news, gossip and other Health and fitness related information.

National Osteoporosis month, June 2006

Women are calling for more involvement in deciding on long term treatments according to results of a new nationwide survey – What Women Want - conducted by The Alliance for Better Bone Health§ in conjunction with The Medicines Partnership.1 The results of the survey, conducted among 1,632 adult women, revealed that 84% of women surveyed want to be involved in decisions about their medication. 'Effectiveness of the medicine' was named by the highest proportion of respondents to be their number one concern, followed by side effects. Other factors, such as dosing frequency, were significantly less important.1*

The survey was conducted in response to stark insights given by a new study entitled 'Patients Prefer Proven Efficacy Over Dosing Regimen in Osteoporosis Therapy with Bisphosphonates'. This study revealed that an overwhelming majority of postmenopausal women think that effectiveness of treatments matters more than how often they take it.2 74% said they would choose a treatment that reduces the risk of hip and spinal fractures taken once a week over a treatment that had only been shown to reduce risk of spinal fractures, taken monthly.

The study findings were reinforced in the results of the 'What Women Want' survey which showed that 35% of women consider effectiveness to be the most important consideration in a long-term treatment, whereas only 2.5% of the 1,632 women questioned felt that the dosing regimen was important.

74% would prefer a weekly treatment that reduces the risk of hip and spinal fractures, over a monthly treatment only shown to reduce the risk of spinal fracture.

35% of women would prefer effectiveness of their treatment in preference to dosing regimen.

The new survey also revealed that of all the types of fracture that osteoporosis can cause, women questioned were most fearful of hip fractures (45%) - which are the most devastating -and second most fearful of vertebral fractures (37%). Additionally, one in four women questioned worry about falling over and breaking/fracturing a bone. 43% of the respondents want their doctor to explain the differences between a range of treatments so that they can decide which they would prefer to take.

The survey also explored women's fears about their health as they get older. The greatest fear among women getting older was cancer, accounting for 56% of those questioned. Only 4% of respondents feared developing osteoporosis or fracturing a hip,1 despite the fact that the lifetime risk for women dying from hip fracture complications equals the risk of dying from breast cancer.

What the experts say:
Dr Richard Keen, consultant rheumatologist from the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, who was involved in the study, commented, “If women are to be involved in their treatment choices, they must ask for the right information. They still need to ask about potential side-effects and when or how often they would have to take a treatment, but should also ask about the effectiveness of the treatment because not all treatments within a class of drug are the same.”

Dr Wendy Clyne from the Medicines Partnership, involved in developing the survey, said: “It is clear from the research, that women want to be more involved in decisions about treatment and that they want access to better information so they can make decisions in an informed way. Medicines Partnership is actively engaged in improving medicines information for patients and working with health professionals to give them the skills and tools to enable patients to be more active partners in their own care.”

Dawn Harper, GP and women's health specialist, added, “Women should understand why they are taking an osteoporosis medication and what effects it will have. This understanding can help women stick with therapies that could prevent the painful and debilitating fractures caused by osteoporosis. I certainly encourage all my patients to take an interest and to ask questions.”

Posted : 20/04/2006 18:23:36

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