Prescribed vitamin D and calcium preparations in patients treated with bone remodelling agents in primary care: a report of a pilot study

Curr Med Res Opin. 2006 Jan;22(1):131-7. doi: 10.1185/030079906X80288.


Background: Recent guidelines recommend that patients receiving treatment for osteoporosis should also receive supplementation with calcium and vitamin D unless they are calcium and vitamin D replete. Given that the majority of elderly patients have inadequate levels of vitamin D and that determining nutritional status is time-consuming and costly, it seems prudent to ensure that the majority of patients aged over 65 and receiving medication for osteoporosis should receive supplementation as a matter of course.

Objectives: To determine the level of co-prescription of calcium and vitamin D in patients receiving treatment for osteoporosis with bisphosphonates, teriparatide, raloxifene or strontium.

Study design and methods: A pilot audit of nine general practices covering a population of 61 202.

Results: Overall, 1.1% (n = 662) of patients were receiving treatment for osteoporosis; of those, only 34.1% of patients were co-prescribed calcium or calcium and vitamin D. Levels of co-prescription varied considerably across practices from 74.0% to 12.2%.

Conclusions: Despite national guidelines, co-prescription of calcium and vitamin D with treatment for osteoporosis remains sub-optimal with considerable variation between practices. Strategies should be adopted to increase physician awareness of widespread vitamin D inadequacy, the rationale for supplementation and poor compliance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Calcium / administration & dosage
  • Calcium / therapeutic use*
  • Drug Prescriptions
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Physicians, Family
  • Pilot Projects
  • Vitamin D / administration & dosage
  • Vitamin D / therapeutic use*


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Vitamin D
  • Calcium