Improving drug adherence in osteoporosis: an update on more recent studies

Academic Article


  • Similar to other chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension, osteoporosis has struggled with suboptimal medication adherence, resulting in an increased risk of fractures and all-cause mortality. The goal of this narrative review was to summarize interventions to improve medication adherence in osteoporosis. Because past reviews of this topic covered published literature through 2013, we conducted our literature search to include the period between January 2012 and November 2017. We identified 10 studies evaluating healthcare system and patient interventions aimed at improving osteoporosis treatment adherence, including three fracture liaison service (FLS) programs, one pharmacist-delivered counseling program, and six patient-directed interventions consisting of three coaching or counseling programs and three interventions using reminder prompts. Four out of the six patient-directed interventions did not lead to significant improvements in outcomes, suggesting that patient-directed interventions may have limited success in this setting. The healthcare system interventions that evaluated FLS programs and pharmacist-directed tailored counseling were effective at improving medication adherence; however, the studies were not randomized, they were costly, resource intensive and effective in countries with more centralized healthcare, possibly limiting their generalizability. In conclusion, while healthcare system interventions such as FLS, and pharmacist-delivered counseling appeared to be successful in improving osteoporosis medication adherence in some settings, behavioral interventions including patient counseling and reminder prompts for medication utilization were not, perhaps due to patient perceptions regarding osteoporosis consequences and need for treatment. Thus, these patient attributes may define patients ‘at high risk’ for poor adherence and developing intervention approaches to enhance patient knowledge and understanding of osteoporosis and its consequences may improve the perception of the need for treatment, optimize osteoporosis care and thereby improve overall outcomes of patients with osteoporosis. We hope that the knowledge gained through our review will help inform the design of further programs aimed at optimizing osteoporosis care.
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Jaleel A; Saag KG; Danila MI
  • Start Page

  • 141
  • End Page

  • 149
  • Volume

  • 10
  • Issue

  • 7