HEALTH

Not enough hip-fracture patients are supplementing with vitamin D, AAOS finds

BY Michael Johnsen

ROSEMONT, Ill. — Despite national recommendations for daily vitamin D intake, a new study presented Tuesday at the 2017 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found that just 45.7% of patients reported consistently taking vitamin D supplements following a hip fracture, a known treatment and preventative strategy for osteoporosis.

"Vitamin D supplementation following hip fracture surgery is grossly under-prescribed," stated co-study author Mohit Bhandari, an orthopaedic surgeon and research chair in musculoskeletal trauma and surgical outcomes, at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada. "Given its potential to improve patient function independent of other therapies, it seems improved advocacy and education — aimed at doctors and patients — about vitamin D supplementation is both worthwhile and evidence-based."

In the U.S., an estimated 44 million people have osteoporosis and another 10 million are at risk for the disease which causes progressive bone loss and increased fracture risk. One in two women and one in four men older than age 50 years will sustain a bone fracture caused by osteoporosis. These potentially debilitating injuries include fractures of the hip, spine, wrist, arm or leg, often occurring from a fall. A bone fracture is often the first sign of the disease which develops slowly with no other symptoms.

Treatments, which include medication, weight-bearing exercise and/or vitamin D, calcium or estrogen supplements, can prevent subsequent fractures.

The U.S. Food and Nutrition Board at the Institute of Medicine of The National Academies recommends 600 International Units (IUs) of vitamin D each day for adults, and 800 IUs for Americans age 71 and older.

In this study, Canadian researchers interviewed 573 hip fracture patients about their vitamin D intake during doctor visits for two years following hip fracture surgery. The mean patient age was 74.1, and the majority of patients (66.3%) were women.

Less than half of the patients consistently took vitamin D supplements as recommended, while 35.6% took supplements inconsistently and less than 19% took no supplements. Despite well-developed guidelines and close follow-up in a clinical trial, a low proportion of elderly hip fracture patients are consistently taking vitamin D. This suggests a need to develop and evaluate additional strategies to promote compliance.

The AAOS position statement, "Orthopaedic Care of Patients with Fragility Fractures," recommends that U.S. physicians proactively screen, monitor and, if necessary, assist in getting treatment for elderly and other at-risk patients for osteoporosis following an initial bone fracture to prevent subsequent fractures.

 

 

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Sundown Naturals is now 100% non-GMO

BY Michael Johnsen

RONKONKOMA, N.Y. — The Nature's Bounty Company on Thursday announced that its Sundown Naturals brand  is now 100% non-GMO.

"We are thrilled to be deemed 100% Non-GMO as this further showcases our unwavering commitment to the health and wellbeing of our consumers," said John Frame, VP marketing for Sundown Naturals. "At Sundown Naturals, we believe that life is about balance and we strive to help make things just a little bit easier for our health-conscious consumers by offering wholesome, free-of vitamins and supplements to support them through every step of their daily routines."

This new distinction highlights Sundown Natural's continued commitment to being a leader in the 100% "free of" category and dedication to provide its consumers with high-quality vitamins and supplements, the company added.

 

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Report: Canada could save $770 million by switching these three drug classes to OTC

BY Michael Johnsen

OTTAWA — A new Conference Board of Canada report estimates that switching three prescription drug classes to over-the-counter status could represent a cost savings of more than $770 million annually (in U.S. currency). Those classes include proton-pump inhibitors, oral contraceptives and erectile dysfunction remedies.

In the U.S. market, PPI sales totaled more than $620.2 million for the 52 weeks ended Dec. 25 across total U.S. multi-outlets, according to IRI. Pfizer's Nexium 24HR is the best-selling antacid tablet on the market with $306.5 million in sales on 1.4% growth.

And ED as a potential OTC class of medicines is expected to be pursued by Sanofi/Chattem this year. In 2014, Sanofi acquired the OTC rights to Cialis from Eli Lilly. Patents protecting Cialis expire in 2017.

"Removing the need to obtain a prescription from a physician for select medications can help improve access for some Canadians through greater convenience and at a lesser cost," stated Louis Thériault, VP public policy, The Conference Board of Canada. "It also alleviates some of the pressure on Canada's strained health care system by decreasing the number of unnecessary doctor visits."

Overall, the annual economic value of switching is estimated at $527 million for proton pump inhibitors, $165 million for oral contraceptives and $78.8 million for erectile dysfunction drugs. The greatest savings would stem from lower drug costs, approximately $340.3 million. While reduced physician visits and increased economic productivity would save $215.4 million and $215.1 million respectively.

Public insurers stand to gain the most from the switches, followed by employers and private drug plan sponsors. Individuals who currently do not have access to the best prescription drug coverage would also see significant savings, due to the lower cost of over-the-counter medications and removal of dispensing fees. On the other hand, individuals currently covered under a drug plan with low or no deductibles and co-payments would incur additional costs from having to purchase the medication over the counter.

The report, in addition to identifying the economic benefits of switching, also discusses some of the risks of switching, such as misdiagnosis, misuse and adverse events, all of which are reviewed by Health Canada before approving individual medication switches.

 

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