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Bone. 2005 Jan;36(1):22-32. Epub 2004 Dec 15.

Intervention thresholds for osteoporosis in the UK.

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  • 1Centre for Metabolic Bone Diseases (WHO Collaborating Centre), University of Sheffield Medical School, Sheffield, UK.


The aim of this study was to determine the threshold of fracture probability at which interventions became cost-effective in women based on data from the UK. We modelled the effects of an intervention costing pound 350 per year given for 5 years that decreased the risk of all osteoporotic fractures by 35% followed by a waning of effect (offset time) for a further 5 years. Sensitivity analyses included a range of treatment duration (3-10 years), intervention costs (pound 300-400/year) and offset times (0-15 years). Data on costs and risks were from the UK. Costs included direct costs, but excluded indirect costs due to morbidity. A threshold for cost-effectiveness of pound 30,000/QALY gained was used. With the base case ( pound 350 per year; 35% efficacy) treatment in women was cost-effective with a 10-year hip fracture probability that ranged from 1.1% at the age of 50 years to 9.0% at the age of 85 years. Intervention thresholds were sensitive to the assumed costs and offset time. The exclusion of osteoporotic fractures other than hip fracture significantly increased the cost-effectiveness ratio because of the substantial morbidity from such other fractures, particularly at younger ages. Cost-effective scenarios were found for women at the threshold for osteoporosis from the age of 60 years. Treatment of established osteoporosis was cost-effective irrespective of age. We conclude that the inclusion of all osteoporotic fractures has a marked effect on intervention thresholds, that these vary with age and that available treatments can be targeted cost-effectively to individuals from the UK at moderately increased fracture risk.

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