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Clinical Cases in mineral and bone metabolism

The use of cholecalciferol in patients with hip fracture

Original Article, 48 - 53
doi: 10.11138/ccmbm/2017.14.1.048
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Abstract
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Introduction. Major osteoporotic fractures are steadily increasing due to population aging. Programs of secondary prevention against refracture are essential to decrease morbidity and mortality and the cost for individuals and the society. Vitamin D supplementation and optimization of calcium intake are of a pivotal importance to start specific osteoporosis treatment and for its safety and efficacy. Cholecalciferol is the most widely employed drug for vitamin D supplementation,
Purpose. Aim of this study was to assess the trends in the use of vitamin D supplements containing cholecalciferol in the population of hip fracture patients older than 65 years, resident in the region of Tuscany (Italy) in the years 2011-2015 and to describe vitamin D status in a subgroup of this individuals directly referred to a bone clinic for further evaluation after hip osteoporotic fracture.
Methods. Data were retrieved from the electronic anonymous regional administrative database administered by the Region of Tuscany (Italy) in the years 2011-2015 within the T.A.R.Ge.T. project (Trattamento Appropriato delle Rifratture Geriatriche in Toscana, i.e., “Appropriate treatment of geriatric refractures in Tuscany”), a program endorsed by the region itself. Data pertaining to cholecalciferol prescriptions and hospital discharge codes were retrieved and appropriately crossed to get data on the use of cholecalciferol supplements in patients before and after a hip fracture.
A retrospective analysis was carried out in a subgroup of subjects (n 254) appropriately referred to the local fracture liaison service after the major osteoporotic fracture and vitamin D status in terms of serum 25(OH) vitamin D levels was assessed.
Results. The majority of subjects experiencing a hip fracture (98.2% and 88.3% in 2011 and 2015, respectively) did not receive vitamin D supplements at the time of the fracture event. Although a trend in increase in prescriptions for cholecalciferol supplements could be observed in the years of the study, the percentage of treated individuals remained low even after the fracture, since only 30-35% of subjects receives cholecalciferol supplements at one year after the fracture. Cholecalciferol remained the most prescribed drug in this population, while a substantial decrease of cholecalciferol in association with calcium salts was observed. The use of high doses of cholecalciferol has decreased in this population, while diminished the use of the drops has been accompanied by an increase in prescriptions of single monthly dose supplements.
Conclusions. The correction of vitamin D inadequacy is preliminary to any treatment for osteoporosis and together with calcium may reduce fracture risk by itself.
The prescription of vitamin D supplements is low in patients before and after a hip fracture in a Mediterranean region and despite the overall increase in vitamin use and abuse in the general population. Proper educational programs and active fracture liaison services are needed in order to bridge this gap.

Vol. XIV (No. 1) 2017 January - April

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