J Womens Health (Larchmt). 2019 Dec 31. doi: 10.1089/jwh.2019.7828. [Epub ahead of print]
Background: Recommendations for using menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) and bisphosphonates for postmenopausal osteoporosis management have changed over time. After the release of the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI) trial results in 2002, new evidence on risks and benefits of MHT became available, and newer guidelines generally specify that MHT should not be prescribed for prevention of chronic disease, including osteoporosis. This raises the question of whether bisphosphonate prescribing changed over time to compensate for the decrease in MHT use.
Materials and Methods: We examined trends in dispensed prescriptions in Australia (national) and Canada (province of Manitoba) in relation to prescribing recommendations. Administrative data were used to describe dispensing patterns and changes for persons of all ages from 1996 to 2008, and for women aged 50 to ≥80 years from 2003 to 2008 in Australia and 1996 to 2008 in Canada.
Results: In both geographic settings, MHT dispensing increased 1996-2001, peaked in 2001, and declined substantially thereafter (67% reduction in MHT prescriptions for Australia; 64% reduction for Manitoba, Canada to 2008). From 2003 to 2008, the number of MHT prescriptions declined among all age groups in both settings, with the highest declines among women in their 50s. Concurrently, bisphosphonate dispensing increased until 2005 (2001-2005: 260% increase in the number of prescriptions in Australia; 125% increase in Manitoba) and stabilized thereafter, in both settings. Annual bisphosphonate dispensing rates increased 4.1-10.9% for women in their 70s and 80s in Australia and Manitoba during the period studied.
Conclusions: Based on dispensed prescriptions data, more recent guidelines for MHT and bisphosphonates use for postmenopausal osteoporosis, which were updated during the study period (and are still consistent with the current guidelines), appear to have been broadly adhered to in both settings.