Half of all people starting osteoporosis therapy last year were prescribed denosumab (Prolia) and a large number of people already on treatment switched to the monoclonal antibody, according to the PBAC Drug Utilisation Sub-Committee Outcome Statement.
The higher than expected uptake of denosumab may relate to patient and clinician preference for a medicine given as a six-monthly subcutaneous injection, the report said.
“Although denosumab appears to be well tolerated and is viewed by clinicians to be comparatively safe, DUSC considered that ongoing vigilance and education is required to minimise the risk of co-administration of oral osteoporosis medicines with the injectable medicines, to recognise and manage adverse events of denosumab, and to understand the risk of vertebral fractures occurring after denosumab discontinuation.”
The statement also showed that prescriptions for testosterone had plummeted in line with prescribing restrictions implemented in April last year.
In the year after the restriction change, there was a 20% reduction in the number of people supplied PBS-subsidised testosterone and a 60% reduction in the number of people starting subsidised testosterone for the first time compared to the year before.
The most extensive restriction changes were for people aged 40 years or older who had androgen deficiency not caused by a pituitary or testicular disorder. In this group, there was an 86% reduction in patients starting subsidised testosterone for the first time.