Improving adherence to and persistence with oral therapy of osteoporosis

M. L. Bianchi, P. Duca, S. Vai, G. Guglielmi, R. Viti, C. Battista, A. Scillitani, S. Muscarella, G. Luisetto, V. Camozzi, R. Nuti, C. Caffarelli, S. Gonnelli, C. Albanese, V. De Tullio, G. Isaia, P. D’Amelio, F. Broggi, M. Croci

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Summary: Osteoporosis treatment has low adherence and persistence. This study evaluated if greater patient involvement could improve them. At 12 months, only 114 out of 344 participants were “fully adherent and persistent” (all drug doses taken throughout the study). Only frequency of drug administration had a significant influence on adherence.

Introduction: Osteoporosis affects millions of individuals worldwide. There are now several effective drugs, but adherence to and persistence with treatment are low. This 12-month multicenter, prospective, randomized study evaluated the efficacy of two different methods aimed at improving adherence and persistence through greater patient involvement, compared with standard clinical practice.

Methods: Three hundred thirty-four post-menopausal women, receiving an oral prescription for osteoporosis for the first time, were recruited and randomized into three groups: group 1 (controls, managed according to standard clinical practice) and groups 2 and 3 (managed with greater patient and caregiver involvement and special reinforcements: group 2, instructed to use several different “reminders”; group 3, same “reminders” as group 2, plus regular phone calls from and meetings at the referring Center). All enrolled women had two visits (baseline and 12 months).

Results: Of 334 enrolled women, 247 (74 %) started the prescribed therapy. Of those who started, 219 (88.7 %) persisted in therapy for at least 10 months. At final evaluation, only 114 women were considered as “fully adherent and persistent” (all doses taken throughout the 12 months). There were no significant differences regarding “full adherence” among the three randomized groups. The frequency of drug administration had a significant influence: weekly administration had a >5-fold higher adherence and monthly administration an 8-fold higher adherence (p <0.0001) than daily administration.

Conclusions: The special effort of devising and providing additional reminders did not prove effective. Additional interventions during the follow-up, including costly interventions such as phone calls and educational meetings, did not provide significant advantages.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1629-1638
Number of pages10
JournalOsteoporosis International
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1 2015


  • Adherence
  • Oral therapy
  • Osteoporosis
  • Persistence
  • Post-menopausal women

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Medicine(all)


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