Fragility fractures associated with osteoporosis constitute a significant public health concern. Clinical trials have shown that a variety of agents-bisphosphonates, raloxifene, calcitonin, hormone replacement therapy, teriparatide, and strontium ranelate-can reduce the risk of osteoporosis-related fragility fractures. However, low levels of compliance and persistence in the real-life setting mean that efficacy benefits observed in clinical trials with these agents may not translate into equivalent effectiveness in daily practice. The aim of this review is to provide a comprehensive evaluation of compliance and persistence data from retrospective/observational studies, with particular reference to studies that consider the effects on fracture rates. PubMed of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) and Web of Science databases were searched for publications detailing observational or retrospective analyses of adherence, compliance, and persistence with osteoporosis therapies. In addition, authors provided relevant studies that were not retrieved using the search criteria. In total, 17 unique publications were identified. Analysis of the publications indicated that low compliance and persistence rates for osteoporosis therapies in the real-life setting result in increased rates of fragility fractures. The results emphasize the importance of good treatment compliance and persistence with osteoporosis therapies in order to achieve a significant therapeutic benefit and thereby reduce the burden that osteoporosis and associated fractures place on individuals and healthcare systems. © 2009 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.