Introduction: In order that a drug may be effective and safe, the patient must have a proper knowledge of the use of it: indication, dosage, method of use and treatment duration, inter alia. Furthermore, in the case of bisphosphonates calcium supplements must also be ensured.
Objetives: Evaluate the knowledge of the patient, their use of calcium and their perception of the effectiveness and safety of bisphosphonates.
Material and method: Prospective observational study implemented in Spanish community pharmacies. Structured interview when a request with prescription of any bisphosphonate is made. The following pieces of information are recorded: the knowledge of the patient about the 4 aforementioned items, whether it is initial therapy or continuation treatment, the perception by the patient of the effectiveness and safety of the drug, the existence of sufficient input of calcium and the action and final intervention of the pharmacist.
Results: 2.527 pharmacists across Spain registered 199.957 dispensations, of which 37.083 were bisphosphonates. Patients were 93 % female, mostly over 65 years. 7 % of the patients did not know the indication, 4 % the dosage, 11 % the use form and 49 % the duration of treatment. In the case of initial therapy the lack of information was higher. The perception of the effectiveness and safety of the drug was lower if the patient did not know any of these items. For 12 % of the patients an adequate calcium input was not ensured.
Discussion: A significant proportion of patients have information gaps that hinder the effectiveness and/or safety of the treatment with bisphosphonates. The pharmacist is in an optimal position to detect and correct these deficiencies, by improving the use process of these drugs.