Even after experiencing a fracture of the hip, shoulder or wrist, many seniors continue to take drugs that increase the risk of having fractures. The results of a new study indicate that most health care practitioners are not having discussions with these patients about the risks and benefits of those drugs, or alternatives to them.
Researchers examined data on about 168,000 Medicare beneficiaries (84% women, average age 80) who had a fragility fracture. Their Part D medication fill records were also looked at, both before and after the fracture occurred, to look for drugs taken that have an increased fracture risk.
More than 75% of the beneficiaries were taking at least 1 drug associated with an increased fracture risk – such as antacids and antidepressants – during the 4 months prior to the fracture. However, after the first fracture, only 7% discontinued use of the medication, the researchers reported in JAMA Internal Medicine.
“We did not see a consistent reduction in the use of these drugs after the fracture event,” lead author Jeffrey C. Munson of the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, told a writer with the Association of Health Care Journalists. “So that allows for the strong possibility we may be able to prevent at least some of these secondary fragility fractures through better management of high-risk drugs around the time of the first fracture.”
As always, MedShadow recommends that you discuss with your doctor the risks and benefits of any medication you are taking or are considering taking so you are a fully informed patient.