Impact of Pharmacist-Physician Collaboration on Osteoporosis Treatment Rates

Bowers BL1Drew AM2,3Verry C3.

Ann Pharmacother. 2018 Apr 1:1060028018770622. doi: 10.1177/1060028018770622. [Epub ahead of print]



The vast majority of women at high risk for osteoporotic fractures are not treated, despite known significant clinical and economic consequences of this prevalent condition. To date, this is the first study of this size and duration to examine the role of pharmacists in management of osteoporosis in a family medicine clinic.


To compare the initiation or continuation of prescription antifracture therapy in high-risk patients with collaborative pharmacist-physician to physician-only management; secondarily, to evaluate recommendation rates for antifracture therapy and calcium and vitamin D.


This retrospective cohort analysis included women older than 65 years with a dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) scan ordered by a family medicine physician. High risk was defined as T-scores ≤-2.5 at the lumbar spine, femoral neck, or 33% radius, or a FRAX 10-year fracture risk score ≥20% for major osteoporosis-related or ≥3% for hip fractures.


There were 466 (311 high-risk) pharmacist-physician and 549 (237 high-risk) physician-managed DXAs included. For high-risk DXAs, collaborative management resulted in increased rates of receiving antifracture therapy prescriptions over physician-only management (66% vs 34%, P < 0.001), advisement for antifracture therapy (87% vs 32%, P < 0.001), and calcium and vitamin D (97% vs 45%, P < 0.001). Collaborative management also improved calcium and vitamin D advisement among all DXAs (96% vs 46%, P < 0.01). There was no difference in adverse events documented in the pharmacist-physician compared with physician-only management (7.2% vs 3.7%, P = 0.32). Conclusion and Relevance: Pharmacist-physician collaboration is associated with higher treatment rates of osteoporosis. This study supports the pharmacist-physician partnership as one method of improving osteoporosis management.


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