As of 1 November 2010, alendronate (Adronat, Alendrobell, Alendro Once Weekly, Fosamax Once Weekly, Ossmax) and its combinations with calcium and/or cholecalciferol (Dronalen Plus, Fosamax Plus, Fosamax Plus D-Cal) may be prescribed on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS) for corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Patients can only receive one PBS-subsidised anti-resorptive agent at a time.

This extension to the streamlined authority listing is for treating people who are currently receiving long-term high-dose corticosteroid therapy (≥ 7.5 mg daily of prednisolone or equivalent for ≥ 3 months) and have a bone mineral density (BMD) T-score ≤ –1.5.1

This change brings the PBS restrictions for alendronate in osteoporosis in line with those for zoledronic acid (Aclasta) and risedronate (Actonel). For more information, refer to the NPS RADAR In Brief news items Extended PBS listings for zoledronic acid 5 mg (Aclasta) and Risedronate (Actonel and Actonel Once-a-Week) for corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis.

The Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee recommended the extended listing for alendronate on a cost minimisation basis — that is, similar efficacy and cost — compared with risedronate.1