The Osteoporosis Clinical Care Gap: An Opportunity for Impact by the Clinical Pharmacist

The impact of osteoporosis to patients and the healthcare system is significant with estimates that 50% of Caucasian women and 20% of men will experience an osteoporotic fracture in their lifetime. However, despite multiple calls to action from healthcare advocates, osteoporosis remains underdiagnosed and undertreated. Data demonstrates that only 23% of women aged 67 years old and older who have an osteoporosis-related fracture receive either a bone mineral density test or a prescription to treat osteoporosis in the six months after the fracture. Reasons for this are debatable but may be include lack of access to DXA, an over reliance on T-scores, and a lack of recognition on the importance of the evaluation of clinical risk factors. In 2014 the National Bone Health Alliance released a position statement regarding the diagnosis of osteoporosis which suggested new standards for the diagnosis of osteoporosis. Through utilization of these new standards, pharmacists are one of the healthcare providers in an interdisciplinary team which may help to recognize osteoporosis diagnoses and the need for treatment, closing the care gap that currently exists with osteoporosis.


Megan Murphy-Menezes

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