Patients admitted to nursing homes after breaking a bone are not usually put on medications to treat osteoporosis, a new study concludes.

The study, led by Harvard Medical School researchers, looked at pharmaceutical claims data and Medicare data from 1995 to 2004 to analyze osteoporosis drug usage among patients admitted to a nursing home following a hip, wrist or shoulder fracture.

Of the 4,430 fracture patients, only 11.5 percent were prescribed an osteoporosis drug. Usage increased from less than 2 percent in 1995, when the bone-building drug Fosamax was approved, to 19 percent in 2001, but then remained static.

The researchers concluded that "more appropriate use of drug treatment of high-risk patients is needed in nursing homes."

The study appears in the May 26 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.