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Paper of the day - Scan and treat osteoporosis strategy 'cost effective in older men'

Screening men over 65 who have had a fracture and all men over 80 with a DXA scan and then treating osteoporotic men for five years with bisphosphonates may be cost effective, according to a new study.

The study, based on US health costs which tend to be more expensive than those in the UK, concluded that the strategy has a cost per quality-adjusted life year of $50,000 (about £25,000).

The study also suggested that giving a DXA scan to all men aged 70 or over and then treating those identified with osteoporosis would be cost effective if the cost of bisphosphonates was less than $500 (about £250). Generic weekly alendronate in the UK costs about £100 for a year.

The absolute risk of a fracture over 10 years was reduced by between 2 and 4.5% depending on age, with a relative risk reduction of about 10%.

JAMA 2007; 298(6): 629-637.

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