Not enough prostate cancer patients receive bisphosphonates

Too Few Prostate Cancer Patients Get Bisphosphonates
Too Few Prostate Cancer Patients Get Bisphosphonates

(HealthDay News) -- Many men on androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer aren't getting the bone-strengthening medications they may need, new Canadian research contends. The report was published in the Dec. 3 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

"There seems to be a clear mismatch between Canadian guidelines regarding bisphosphonate usage in men undergoing hormone therapy for prostate cancer and actual clinical practice," lead researcher Shabbir Alibhai, M.D., a senior scientist at the University Health Network in Toronto, told HealthDay. While the low rates of bisphosphonate prescriptions may be appropriate for patients who are at low risk for fracture, most men with osteoporosis or other bone conditions should be taking a bisphosphonate, he said.

For the study, Alibhai and colleagues analyzed bisphosphonate prescriptions among all men aged 66 and older in Ontario receiving androgen deprivation therapy for prostate cancer between 1995 and 2012. "We found that new prescriptions for 35,487 men starting hormone therapy remained low throughout the study period. Even when focusing on those men who should be receiving bisphosphonates as per Canadian guidelines due to their high risk for future fracture, prescription rates remained low," Alibhai said. Moreover, new bisphosphonate prescriptions dipped between the 2007-09 and 2010-12 periods.

"There is a need for further research to discern whether the low prescription rates are due to limited clinician awareness in regards to bone health management, fear at the hands of the patients due to the rare but over publicized serious side effects, pill burden -- taking too many medications already -- or some other reason entirely," Alibhai said.

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