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.