Impact of bone turnover markers and/or educational information on persistence to oral bisphosphonate therapy: a community setting-based trial

Osteoporos Int. 2012 Mar;23(3):1069-74. doi: 10.1007/s00198-011-1721-z. Epub 2011 Jul 14.


We examined how the use of bone turnover markers and educational information affects persistence of bisphosphonate use in osteoporotic patients. We found that reporting bone turnover results and/or educational information did not affect persistence.

Introduction: Long-term adherence and persistence to osteoporosis medication are poor. We examined whether reporting of bone turnover marker results, education about osteoporosis, or a combination of both would increase persistence to oral bisphosphonates.

Methods: Two hundred and forty women who were 5 years postmenopausal with BMD at least 2.0 standard deviations below normal were recruited for the study. All women were given a new prescription for alendronate and randomly assigned to one of four groups: (1) bone marker results at baseline, 3 and 12 months; (2) educational materials every month and a membership in the National Osteoporosis Foundation; (3) bone marker and educational information; and (4) control, no information other than usual care. Persistence among randomization groups was tested using survival analysis adjusting for the delay between intervention methods.

Results: Of those filling their initial prescription, 95.5% refilled their prescription at the end of the first month, 87% at 3 months, 82% at 6 months, and 78% at 10 months. Overall persistence through 12 months was 54%. There was no difference found among the four groups for persistence time using (p > 0.58).

Conclusion: Providing bone turnover marker results is not an effective way to enhance early compliance and persistence with drug therapy. While the women in our study felt that bone marker results and educational information were helpful to them, there was no difference in persistence between those who received either bone marker information and/or educational information and those who did not. Because of the unexpected rate of primary nonadherence, this study may be underpowered.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Administration, Oral
  • Aged
  • Biomarkers / urine
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / administration & dosage*
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use
  • Bone Remodeling / physiology
  • Community Health Services
  • Drug Administration Schedule
  • Feedback, Psychological
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / psychology
  • Patient Education as Topic / methods*
  • United States


  • Biomarkers
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents