To assess the effectiveness of a multifaceted intervention to improve the management of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIOP).
Of 21 rheumatologists, 11 were randomly assigned to a 3-part intervention consisting of a lecture and discussion regarding optimal management of GIOP, a confidential doctor-specific audit regarding management of GIOP, and a reminder mailing including concise pharmacologic recommendations. The remaining 10 rheumatologists received no special education. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) taking oral glucocorticoids seen in the 2 months after the intervention were followed for 6 months. Medical records were assessed to determine the proportion undergoing bone mineral density testing or receiving pharmacologic interventions for GIOP during the 6 months before and 6 months after the intervention.
There were 373 patients with RA taking oral glucocorticoids whose records were assessed. Patients in both arms of the trial were similar with respect to age, sex, menopausal status, glucocorticoid dosage and duration, duration of RA, disease-modifying antirheumatic drug use, and the proportion with comorbid conditions. At baseline, there was no significant difference between the patients with respect to osteoporosis medication use (intervention 32% versus control 34%) or bone densitometry use (intervention 9% versus control 5%). After the intervention and a 6-month followup period, there were no differences in treatment (intervention 33% versus control 38%) or bone densitometry use (intervention 8% versus control 8%). Adjusting for patient and physician characteristics did not significantly change these results.
A multifaceted intervention for GIOP, including doctor education, practice audit, and treatment suggestions, had no significant benefit on testing or treatment by rheumatologists over a 6-month followup period. Other intervention approaches need to be tested.