More Men Could Benefit from Osteoporosis Screening
Schousboe JT, Taylor BC, Fink HA, et al. Cost-effectiveness of bone densitometry followed by treatment of osteoporosis in older men. JAMA. 2007;298(6):629-637.
Objective: To evaluate among older men the cost-effectiveness of bone densitometry followed by five years of oral bisphosphonate therapy to prevent fractures for those found to have osteoporosis (femoral neck T-score <-2.5), compared with no intervention.
Design, Setting, Population: Computer Markov microsimulation model using a societal perspective and a lifetime horizon. Simulations were performed for hypothetical cohorts of white men with or without prior clinical fracture. Data sources for model parameters included the Rochester Epidemiology Project for fracture costs and population-based age-specific fracture rates; the Osteoporotic Fractures in Men study and published meta-analyses for the associations among prior fractures, bone density, and incident fractures; and published studies of fracture disutility.
Main Outcome Measures: Costs per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained for the densitometry and follow-up treatment strategy compared with no intervention, calculated from lifetime costs and accumulated QALYs for each strategy.
Results: Lifetime costs per QALY gained for the densitometry and follow-up treatment strategy were less than $50,000 for men 65 or older with a prior clinical fracture and for men 80 or older without a prior fracture. These results were most sensitive to oral bisphosphonate cost and fracture reduction efficacy, the strength of association between bone mineral density (BMD) and fractures, fracture rates and disutility, and medication adherence.
Conclusions: Bone densitometry followed by bisphosphonate therapy for those with osteoporosis may be cost effective for men 65 or older with a self-reported prior clinical fracture and for men aged 80 to 85 with no prior fracture. This strategy may also be cost effective for men as young as 70 without a prior clinical fracture if oral bisphosphonate costs are less than $500 per year or if the societal willingness to pay per QALY gained is $100,000.
The impact of osteoporosis in older men is being belatedly recognized.1 Sixty-year-old white men have a 29% chance of osteoporotic fracture before they die. One-third of all hip fractures occur in men and are associated with higher mortality than those in women.2
Universal bone densitometry for women 65 and older has been shown to be cost-effective and is widely advocated.3 However, because the age-specific prevalence of osteoporosis and incident fracture rates are much lower in men than women, it is not obvious that bone density screening followed by treatment of men with osteoporosis is cost effective at any age. The lack of cost-effectiveness analyses and, therefore, consensus on screening for osteoporosis in men may be responsible for low rates of clinical intervention.