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Authors : Hoan Linh Banh, Andrew Cave
Abstract : The use of inhaled corticosteroids (ICS) is the standard maintenance therapy in the management of asthma and moderate to severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). It is well recognized that systemic corticosteroid therapy is a risk factor for osteoporosis. There is a dose related increase in risk of fracture with ICS use and an inverse relationship between bone mineral density and duration and cumulative dose of ICS. The objective of the study is to assess Alberta pharmacists’ awareness of ICS and its association with osteoporosis. An online survey was created through Google Document® . The URL link to the survey along with a letter of information was circulated to various pharmacy websites. Total of 104 pharmacists completed the survey. Only 60% of the pharmacists are aware of the risk of osteoporosis associated with high dose ICS (>2 mg inhaled beclomethasone/day or equivalent). Less than 50% of the pharmacists would recommend calcium and vitamin D to patients who are receiving long-term high dose ICS. Pharmacists are the most accessible health care providers and can play a pivotal role in identifying patients on ICS who are at risk of osteoporosis. More education is needed for pharmacists to raise the awareness of the association of ICS with osteoporosis.

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