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Bone health – optimising treatment of osteoporosis in primary care

The effects of osteoporosis and resulting fragility fractures can have a profound impact on patients and their quality of life. Fragility fractures can cause substantial pain and severe disability. Optimising medication is critical to preventing fragility fractures. Treatment is exceptionally effective at improving bone density – when taken correctly it can reduce the risk of fracture by more than 50%. However, evidence shows that medication adherence can be poor with around half of all patients discontinuing their medication within the first year.

The Bone Health project is a collaboration between the University of Oxford, PRIMIS (part of the School of Medicine, University of Nottingham) and the Oxford AHSN. It has received funding from Health Education England. The project aims to reduce fragility fractures and improve the management of people with osteoporosis by identifying patients in primary care who would benefit from a medication review and ensuring they are treated appropriately. A new case-finding tool and review template has been created that easily identifies appropriate patients on GP practice systems and supports clinicians in carrying out reviews.

The project is in the initial stage of roll-out, working with ten GP practices across Oxfordshire, the outcomes and impact of which will be closely monitored. Plans for wider roll-out are being developed.