Sanofi-Aventis and Procter & Gamble have come up with the novel idea of providing patients with osteoporosis a biphosphonate plus vitamin D and calcium supplements all in the same treatment pack.

Launched in the UK this week, Actonel Combi is designed to help raise compliance by making it easier for patients to take all the essential ingredients of their therapy regimens, with the aim of boosting treatment outcomes.

Vitamin D and calcium supplements are crucial to the effective management of osteoporosis, but all too often patients either fail to take them or do so at wrong doses, which can impact the bisphosphonate’s ability to reduce the risk of fracture.

In the UK, it is standard practice to co-prescribe calcium and vitamin D with a bisphosphonate for patients with the osteoporosis, and Actonel Combi offers a convenient shot of once a week Actonel 35mg with daily doses of 880 international units vitamin D and 1000mg calcium in just one prescription.

Same price
Importantly, the combination is available at the same list price as Actonel alone, in order to “maximise patient choice as a new convenient option to aid compliance”, a spokesperson told UK News, which will likely sit well with those controlling the purse strings.

Improving treatment outcomes for osteoporosis is essential, given that around 70,000 osteoporotic hip fractures alone are still occurring in England and Wales each year, costing the UK a whopping £725 million a year.

“We can see from recent market research data conducted in Europe that 43% of patients are not taking any calcium and/or vitamin D supplementation with their bisphosphonate treatment, despite clear recommendations to do so. Providing calcium and vitamin D in a package with a bisphosphonate may be a simple solution to the problem, providing patients with an improved chance of fracture protection,” remarked Dr Sally Hope, a GP from Oxfordshire.