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Drug holidays: the most frequent type of noncompliance with calcium plus vitamin D supplementation in persistent patients with osteoporosis

Authors Touskova T, Vytrisalova M, Palicka V, Hendrychova T, Fuksa L, Holcova R, Konopacova J, Kubena A

Received 15 May 2015

Accepted for publication 16 September 2015

Published 16 December 2015 Volume 2015:9 Pages 1771—1779


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen

Tereza Touskova,1 Magda Vytrisalova,1 Vladimir Palicka,2 Tereza Hendrychova,1 Leos Fuksa,1 Radka Holcova,1 Jana Konopacova,1 Ales Antonin Kubena1

1Department of Social and Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy in Hradec Kralove, Charles University in Prague, 2Osteocentre, Institute of Clinical Biochemistry and Diagnostics, Charles University in Prague, Faculty of Medicine and University Hospital in Hradec Kralove, Hradec Kralove, Czech Republic

Purpose: All current recommendations include calcium and vitamin D (Ca–D) as an integrated part of osteoporosis treatment. The purpose of this pilot study was to analyze compliance with a fixed combination of Ca–D in women persistent with the treatment.
Patients and methods: An observational study was carried out in three osteocenters in the Czech Republic. Women with osteoporosis ≥55 years of age concurrently treated with oral ibandronate were eligible. Compliance was evaluated in a period of 3 months by Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS), tablet count, and self-report. Nonpersistence was defined as a MEMS-based gap in the use of Ca–D to be 30 days or more.
Results: A total of 73 patients were monitored, of which 49 patients were analyzed (target population). Based on MEMS, mean overall compliance was 71%; good compliance (≥80%) was observed in 59% of the patients. As many as 71% of the patients took drug holidays (≥3 consecutive days without intake); overall compliance of these patients was 59% and was slightly lower on Fridays and weekends. Patients without drug holidays were fully compliant (did not omit individual doses). Compliance differed according to daily time at which the patients mostly used the Ca–D. Afternoon/evening takers showed a mean overall compliance of 82% while morning/night takers only 51% (P=0.049). Based on MEMS, tablet count, and self-report, compliance ≥75% was observed in 59%, 100%, and 87% of the patients, respectively. Outcomes obtained by the three methods were not associated with each other. Undesirable concurrent ingestion of Ca–D and ibandronate was present only twice.
Conclusion: Despite almost perfect self-reported and tablet count-based compliance, MEMS-based compliance was relatively poor. Consecutive supplementation-free days were common; more than two-thirds of the patients took at least one drug holiday. This pilot study showed drug holiday to be the most important type of noncompliance with Ca–D in those who are persistent with the treatment.

Keywords: patient compliance, medication adherence, Medication Event Monitoring System (MEMS), drug holidays, osteoporosis, calcium supplementation, self-report

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