The study shows that it may be cost-effective to screen and treat osteoporosis in men aged 65 and older who had a history of a fracture and in all men aged 80-85.
In osteoporosis, bones become dangerously thin, making fractures more likely. Osteoporosis becomes more common with age.
Due to menopause, women tend to develop osteoporosis at a younger age than men. But osteoporosis in men isn't uncommon, note the researchers, who included John Schousboe, M.D., of Park Nicollet Health Services in Minneapolis.
By the time a white man is 60 years old, he has a 29% chance of fracturing a bone due to osteoporosis during his remaining years. Fracture rates are lower in African-American and Hispanic men, according to Schousboe's team.
Schousboe and colleagues calculated the cost-effectiveness of giving men bone density scans to check for osteoporosis and to give men with osteoporosis the osteoporosis drug Fosamax for five years.
The researchers based their calculations on bone density test costs, Fosamax costs, and costs associated with bone fractures.
Based on certain costs, Schousboe's team concluded that osteoporosis screening and Fosamax treatment would be cost-effective for men aged 65 and older who have a history of fractures and for all men aged 80-85.
In the journal, the researchers note financial ties to various drug companies, including Merck, which makes Fosamax. The study was funded by the National Institutes of Health.
By Miranda Hitti
Reviewed by Louise Chang, M.D.
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