The Role of the Pharmacist in Patient Self-Advocacy for Osteoporosis Screening

Sr Care Pharm. 2022 Dec 1;37(12):612-622. doi: 10.4140/TCP.n.2022.612.


Background Osteoporosis is a common bone disease affecting more than 200 million people worldwide. Commonly prescribed medications have the potential to contribute to bone loss and fracture risk. Providers may be unaware of effects of other commonly used medication classes, which can lead to inadequate prevention or a lack of screening. Objective To describe a case of drug-induced bone density loss, characterized by long-term use of proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) in a postmenopausal woman; to describe the pharmacist's role in encouraging patient self-advocacy. Setting A rural and medically underserved area in eastern Washington State. Practice Description This patient case was part of a grant-funded project to identify and intervene with complex and high-risk patients from local rural and underserved populations. Practice Innovation A pharmacist met with a 61-year-old female patient to complete a comprehensive medication review and subsequently identified a risk of osteoporosis secondary to long-term PPI and hormone replacement therapy use. Empowered by the knowledge of risk of development of low bone density, the patient approached her provider twice with a request for bone density measurement. Results Despite initial hesitancy from her physician, the patient advocated for herself with concerns about developing osteoporosis. Following obtaining a dual energy X-ray absorptiometry scan, the patient received a diagnosis of osteoporosis. Discussion Education from the pharmacist prompted the patient to advocate for osteoporosis screening and ultimately led to a diagnosis. Conclusion Pharmacists play a critical role in identifying medication-induced conditions in patients with complex medications and multiple chronic disease states.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Bone Density
  • Female
  • Fractures, Bone*
  • Humans
  • Osteoporosis* / chemically induced
  • Osteoporosis* / diagnosis
  • Osteoporosis* / drug therapy
  • Pharmacists
  • Physicians*
  • Proton Pump Inhibitors


  • Proton Pump Inhibitors