Deakin University

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Half the burden of fragility fractures in the community occur in women without osteoporosis. When is fracture prevention cost-effective?

journal contribution
posted on 2006-05-01, 00:00 authored by K Sanders, G Nicholson, Jennifer WattsJennifer Watts, Julie PascoJulie Pasco, Margaret Rogers, Mark KotowiczMark Kotowicz, E Seeman
To determine the age- and BMD-specific burden of fractures in the community and the cost-effectiveness of targeted drug therapy, we studied a demographically well-categorized population with a single main health provider. Of 1224 women over 50 years of age sustaining fractures during 2 years, the distribution of all fractures was 11%, 20%, 33%, and 36% in those aged 50–59, 60–69, 70–79, and 80+ years, respectively. Osteoporosis (T score < −2.5) was present in 20%, 46%, 59%, and 69% in the respective age groups. Based on this sample and census data for the whole country, treating all women over 50 years of age in Australia with a drug that halves fracture risk in osteoporotic women and reduces fractures in those without osteoporosis by 20%, was estimated to prevent 18,000 or 36% of the 50,000 fractures per year at a total cost of $573 million (AUD). Screening using a bone mineral density of T score of −2.5 as a cutoff, misses 80%, 54%, 41%, and 31% of fractures in women in the respective age groups. An analysis of cost per averted fracture by age group suggests that treating women in the 50- to 59-year age group with osteoporosis alone costs $156,400 per averted fracture. However, in women aged over 80 years, the cost per averted fracture is $28,500. We infer that treating all women over 50 years of age is not feasible. Using osteoporosis and age (>60 years) as criteria for intervention reduces the population burden of fractures by 28% and is cost-effective but solutions to the prevention of the remaining 72% of fragility fractures remain unavailable.









694 - 700




Amsterdam, The Netherlands





Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2006, Elsevier