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Inequalities in prescription rates of anti-osteoporosis drugs in primary care in England: a practice-level prescribing data analysis in 2013-2018.

Bone. 2019 Nov 02;:115125 Authors: Agirrezabal I, Cabasés JM, Di Tanna GL, Sánchez-Iriso E

OBJECTIVE: To investigate potential variations in prescription rates of anti-osteoporosis drugs at the general practitioner (GP) practice level in England, analysing associations of prescription rates with key demographic and socio-economic variables, and its evolution over time. METHODS: A retrospective database analysis was conducted using prescription data from all GP practices in England between April 2013 and September 2018. Potential associations between prescription rates and other variables (sex, age, ethnicity, rural-urban classification and income deprivation) were analysed using mixed-effects Poisson regressions and concentration indices. RESULTS: Alendronic acid was the most frequently prescribed anti-osteoporosis drug. Exploratory and regression analyses showed the association between GP prescriptions and the characteristics of the population they serve. Income deprivation had a statistically significant and negative effect on prescription levels of alendronic acid, denosumab, ibandronic acid and risedronate sodium. Since 2013, denosumab prescriptions exhibited a steep surge in the least income-deprived areas, compared with a modest rise in the most income-deprived areas. Concentration indices indicated a disproportionate concentration of denosumab and, to a lesser extent, ibandronic acid prescriptions among the least income-deprived. The analyses demonstrated that different prescribing behaviours may exist across GPs according to the Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) to which they belong. CONCLUSIONS: Variation in the prescription of anti-osteoporosis drugs exists across GPs and CCGs in England, this being more prominent for certain drugs (e.g. denosumab) compared with others (e.g. alendronic acid). Inequalities exist in English primary healthcare and we advocate our findings could support the efforts of decision-makers towards a more equitable system. PMID: 31689524 [PubMed - as supplied by publisher]

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