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Objective: The aims of this study were to estimate persistence with osteoporosis therapies and to assess persistence by different users (stable and switching), type of osteoporosis drug, and calendar year of initiation among postmenopausal women.

Methods: This study was conducted using the data from the UK General Practice Research Database. We identified all women in the General Practice Research Database who had a first-ever recording of a prescription for an oral bisphosphonate, oral raloxifene, or oral strontium ranelate between January 1, 1995, and March 31, 2008, and who were 50 years or older or had a diagnosis to indicate menopause at an earlier age.

Persistence was estimated as the proportion of women who continued therapy at 6 months and at 1, 3, and 5 years, using Kaplan-Meier methodology. Because women could have multiple episodes (of one or more therapies) over the follow-up period, persistence was evaluated for each individual episode.

Results: There were 66,116 eligible postmenopausal women who received at least one prescription for one of the osteoporosis therapy drugs in this study during the period 1995 to 2008. Overall, the women were continuing with osteoporosis therapy at 6 months after the index date in the full study population in 44% of episodes and in 32%, 16%, and 9% of episodes at 1, 3, and 5 years later, respectively.

Conclusions: Persistence with osteoporosis therapies has improved over the study period, but persistence in the first 6 months remains below 50%, leaving a large unmet need to improve the management of postmenopausal women through novel adherence programs and therapies.

(C)2012The North American Menopause Society