Multifaceted Educational Program Increases Prescribing of Preventive Medication for Corticosteroid Induced Osteoporosis

Mark Naunton, Gregory M. Peterson, Graeme Jones, Gillian M. Griffin, Martin D. Bleasel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Despite evidence that oral corticosteroids increase fracture risk and the existence of guidelines for the prevention of corticosteroid induced osteoporosis, few patients prescribed longterm corticosteroids receive osteoporosis prevention. We performed a controlled trial of a comprehensive educational program aimed at increasing the use of osteoporosis preventive therapy in patients prescribed longterm oral corticosteroids. Methods. The intervention was conducted in Southern Tasmania, Australia, using Northern Tasmania as a control area. All general practitioners and community pharmacies were sent educational material and locally produced guidelines on the prevention of corticosteroid induced osteoporosis. This was followed by academic detailing visits and reminders. Pharmacists were provided with supplies of an educational refrigerator magnet, intended for patients. Outcomes were measured using evaluation feedback from the general practitioners and pharmacists, and drug utilization data provided by (1) a series of patients presenting to hospital and taking oral corticosteroids for at least 3 consecutive months; and (2) dispensing of osteoporosis preventive therapy under the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme. Results. The prevalence of osteoporosis preventive therapy increased from 31% of admitted hospital patients taking longterm oral corticosteroids to 57% postintervention (p < 0.0001). The use of bisphosphonates (6% to 24% of patients), calcium (5% to 19%), and vitamin D (3% to 11%) all increased significantly. Prescription data also indicated a significant (p < 0.01) increase in the use of osteoporosis preventive therapy in the intervention region. Conclusion. A multifaceted education program, incorporating academic detailing of general practitioners and community pharmacists, increased the use of osteoporosis prevention strategies in longterm oral corticosteroid users.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)550-556
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004
Externally publishedYes


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