Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty

Lenore M. Buckley, Mariella Marquez, Joanna Laizure, Robert W. Downs, Pamela Vacek, Ralph E. Small, Roy Poses

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

54 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective. Longterm corticosteroid use is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation and estrogen replacement therapy can decrease this risk, but the majority of patients receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment do not receive treatments to prevent bone loss. We assess whether this is due to variations in physicians' judgments about risks and efficacy of treatments to prevent corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Methods. Questionnaires were mailed to 425 physicians, who were sampled so that half were generalists and half were specialists. Physicians were given hypothetical clinical scenarios involving patients taking corticosteroids and asked to judge the importance of osteoporosis as a risk of corticosteroid treatment, the importance of discussing this side effect with patients, and to indicate how often they would use calcium with vitamin D and estrogen for a hypothetical postmenopausal patient receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment. Results. In total 198 physicians (50%) responded to this survey. Most physicians rated osteoporosis as one of the 3 most significant side effects of corticosteroid treatment for postmenopausal women, but there was significant variation in physician judgments about the importance of corticosteroid induced osteoporosis for premenopausal women (p = 0.03) and men (p = 0.001). There was also significant variation in physician judgments about the importance of discussing osteoporosis as a side effect with patients (p = 0.001), and their use of both calcium and vitamin D (p = 0.002) and estrogen replacement therapy (p = 0.001) for a hypothetical postmenopausal patient. The physician characteristics most associated with these differences were physician specialty and experience with corticosteroid use. Primary care physicians and physicians who more commonly prescribe corticosteroids were more likely to report that they would use estrogen and calcium to prevent corticosteroid induced bone loss. Physician age, sex, and university affiliation had no association with physician assessments. Conclusion. Physicians' judgments varied significantly by physician specialty and experience with corticosteroid use. These data suggest that patients cared for by physicians in different specialties will get varying advice about osteoporosis risk and preventive treatments when receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2195-2202
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Rheumatology
Volume25
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998

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Osteoporosis
Adrenal Cortex Hormones
Physicians
Vitamin D
Calcium
Estrogen Replacement Therapy
Therapeutics
Estrogens
Bone and Bones
Primary Care Physicians

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Rheumatology
  • Immunology

Cite this

Buckley, L. M., Marquez, M., Laizure, J., Downs, R. W., Vacek, P., Small, R. E., & Poses, R. (1998). Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty. Journal of Rheumatology, 25(11), 2195-2202.

Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty. / Buckley, Lenore M.; Marquez, Mariella; Laizure, Joanna; Downs, Robert W.; Vacek, Pamela; Small, Ralph E.; Poses, Roy.

In: Journal of Rheumatology, Vol. 25, No. 11, 01.11.1998, p. 2195-2202.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Buckley, LM, Marquez, M, Laizure, J, Downs, RW, Vacek, P, Small, RE & Poses, R 1998, 'Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty', Journal of Rheumatology, vol. 25, no. 11, pp. 2195-2202.
Buckley LM, Marquez M, Laizure J, Downs RW, Vacek P, Small RE et al. Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty. Journal of Rheumatology. 1998 Nov 1;25(11):2195-2202.
Buckley, Lenore M. ; Marquez, Mariella ; Laizure, Joanna ; Downs, Robert W. ; Vacek, Pamela ; Small, Ralph E. ; Poses, Roy. / Variations in physicians' judgments about corticosteroid induced osteoporosis by physician specialty. In: Journal of Rheumatology. 1998 ; Vol. 25, No. 11. pp. 2195-2202.
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abstract = "Objective. Longterm corticosteroid use is associated with an increased risk of osteoporosis and fractures. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation and estrogen replacement therapy can decrease this risk, but the majority of patients receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment do not receive treatments to prevent bone loss. We assess whether this is due to variations in physicians' judgments about risks and efficacy of treatments to prevent corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Methods. Questionnaires were mailed to 425 physicians, who were sampled so that half were generalists and half were specialists. Physicians were given hypothetical clinical scenarios involving patients taking corticosteroids and asked to judge the importance of osteoporosis as a risk of corticosteroid treatment, the importance of discussing this side effect with patients, and to indicate how often they would use calcium with vitamin D and estrogen for a hypothetical postmenopausal patient receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment. Results. In total 198 physicians (50{\%}) responded to this survey. Most physicians rated osteoporosis as one of the 3 most significant side effects of corticosteroid treatment for postmenopausal women, but there was significant variation in physician judgments about the importance of corticosteroid induced osteoporosis for premenopausal women (p = 0.03) and men (p = 0.001). There was also significant variation in physician judgments about the importance of discussing osteoporosis as a side effect with patients (p = 0.001), and their use of both calcium and vitamin D (p = 0.002) and estrogen replacement therapy (p = 0.001) for a hypothetical postmenopausal patient. The physician characteristics most associated with these differences were physician specialty and experience with corticosteroid use. Primary care physicians and physicians who more commonly prescribe corticosteroids were more likely to report that they would use estrogen and calcium to prevent corticosteroid induced bone loss. Physician age, sex, and university affiliation had no association with physician assessments. Conclusion. Physicians' judgments varied significantly by physician specialty and experience with corticosteroid use. These data suggest that patients cared for by physicians in different specialties will get varying advice about osteoporosis risk and preventive treatments when receiving longterm corticosteroid treatment.",
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