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South Med J. 2006 Feb;99(2):123-31.

Cost-effectiveness strategies to treat osteoporosis in elderly women.

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  • 1Department of Medicine, West Virginia University School of Medicine, Charleston 25304, USA.



Comparing the cost-effectiveness of various antiosteoporotic drugs has not been defined.


We determined the cost-effectiveness of calcitonin, raloxifene, bisphosphates and PTH in a base-case cohort of women aged 65 or older with osteoporosis. After bone densitometry, women were stratified into groups of treatment or no treatment. Our outcome goal was a value of dollars 100,000 or less per quality-adjusted life years (QALY). A sensitivity analysis varied nonvertebral fracture reduction and compliance between the two most effective strategies to test various cost per QALY thresholds.


Bisphosphonates displayed the most favorable incremental cost saving and prevented more fractures in our base-case analysis. In a sensitivity analysis, virtually all values of bisphosphonates were under dollars 100,000 per QALY and parathyroid hormone (PTH) was between dollars 100,000 and dollars 200,000 per QALY.


Only bisphosphonates are cost-effective for fracture prevention in osteoporotic women aged 65 or older and this economic advantage is also maintained in subsets who have a lower relative risk of future fracture.

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