Prescribing for osteoporosis falling

GPs are seeing more patients with osteoporosis but are writing fewer scripts for medication, an Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) report shows.

More patients are being advised by their doctors to buy over-the-counter supplements such as calcium and vitamin D, the research suggests.

The rate of osteoporosis cases managed by GPs doubled to 1.0 per 100 encounters in 2007–08 compared with 1998–99 but the condition was still under-diagnosed, the report, A Snapshot of Osteoporosis in Australia 2011, said.

The rate of prescriptions decreased to 72.9 per 100 osteoporosis cases managed in 2007–08 from 91.9 per 100 at the end of the previous decade, they found.

According to Associate Professor Helena Britt, who conducted the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) survey used in the AIHW report, the decrease in prescription rates was “largely due to a trend towards the purchase of vitamin D and