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First prescriptions for osteoporosis

This module supports pharmacists when consulting with patients who have been prescribed osteoporosis medications for the first time.

This is the latest module in a new series supporting pharmacists in their conversations with patients who are receiving a new medicine. The modules cover medications used in the conditions added to the New Medicine Service in England but are relevant to all pharmacists. This module deals with medicines used in the management of osteoporosis.

Over 3 million people in the UK are affected by the condition, with more than 500,000 individuals receiving hospital treatment for an osteoporosis- related fragility fracture every year. Pharmacists are likely to encounter many patients with the condition in their practice.

Key facts

  • Bisphosphonate dosing varies widely. Community pharmacists can make a significant difference to patient care by promoting adherence and providing support with these drugs
  • Gastrointestinal side-effects are relatively common with bisphosphonates but the risk can be minimised with counselling on appropriate administration
  • Advice on lifestyle measures to improve bone health and reduce the risk of fractures is an additional element that pharmacists can offer osteoporosis patients during consultations, particularly when starting on treatments.

Contributing author: Asha Fowells MRPharmS, pharmacist and clinical writer. 

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