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Nearly 30 Percent of Women Fail to Pick Up New Prescriptions for Osteoporosis, Kaiser Permanente Study Finds
Date:4/18/2013

ician practicing less than 10 years at Kaiser Permanente. In addition, women who received their new bisphosphonate prescription from providers specializing in rheumatology or internal medicine specialties were more likely to pick up the medication than those who received the prescription from providers in other primary care specialties.

Medication nonadherence occurs when a patient does not follow a clinically prescribed medication course, endangering his or her own health and possibly necessitating more aggressive treatment or hospitalizations later. Previous studies estimated that in the United States each year, medication nonadherence contributes to approximately 125,000 deaths and costs the health care system $290 billion. One in three patients prescribed a medication by their health care provider never pick it up from the pharmacy, and, among those who do, nearly 3 in 4 Americans do not take prescription drugs according to providers' orders. 

Osteoporosis is a disease of the skeletal system characterized by low bone mass and deterioration of bone tissue, leading to an increased risk of bone fractures, typically in the wrist, hip and spine. Approximately 10 million Americans have osteoporosis, while about 34 million more are at risk for the disease, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation. Osteoporosis can occur in both men and women and at any age, but it is most common in older women, according to the National Institutes of Health.

"These findings suggest that health care providers must do a better job of identifying barriers and developing interventions that address the individual patient's needs and concerns at the time the prescription is ordered," Reynolds said. "The use of electronic health records, like the system in place at Kaiser Permanente, has helped us better understand and address primary nonadherence, which has historically been difficult to identify."

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