Cost-Effectiveness of Different Screening Strategies for Osteoporosis in Postmenopausal Women

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Abstract

Background:

The best strategies to screen postmenopausal women for osteoporosis are not clear.

Objective:

To identify the cost-effectiveness of various screening strategies.

Design:

Individual-level state-transition cost-effectiveness model.

Data Sources:

Published literature.

Target Population:

U.S. women aged 55 years or older.

Time Horizon:

Lifetime.

Perspective:

Payer.

Intervention:

Screening strategies composed of alternative tests (central dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry [DXA], calcaneal quantitative ultrasonography [QUS], and the Simple Calculated Osteoporosis Risk Estimation [SCORE] tool) initiation ages, treatment thresholds, and rescreening intervals. Oral bisphosphonate treatment was assumed, with a base-case adherence rate of 50% and a 5-year on/off treatment pattern.

Outcome Measures:

Incremental cost-effectiveness ratios (2010 U.S. dollars per quality-adjusted life-year [QALY] gained).

Results of Base-Case Analysis:

At all evaluated ages, screening was superior to not screening. In general, quality-adjusted life-days gained with screening tended to increase with age. At all initiation ages, the best strategy with an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio (ICER) of less than $50 000 per QALY was DXA screening with a T-score threshold of −2.5 or less for treatment and with follow-up screening every 5 years. Across screening initiation ages, the best strategy with an ICER less than $50 000 per QALY was initiation of screening at age 55 years by using DXA −2.5 with rescreening every 5 years. The best strategy with an ICER less than $100 000 per QALY was initiation of screening at age 55 years by using DXA with a T-score threshold of −2.0 or less for treatment and then rescreening every 10 years. No other strategy that involved treatment of women with osteopenia had an ICER less than $100 000 per QALY. Many other strategies, including strategies with SCORE or QUS prescreening, were also cost-effective, and in general the differences in effectiveness and costs between evaluated strategies was small.

Results of Sensitivity Analysis:

Probabilistic sensitivity analysis did not reveal a consistently superior strategy.

Limitations:

Data were primarily from white women. Screening initiation at ages younger than 55 years were not examined. Only osteoporotic fractures of the hip, vertebrae, and wrist were modeled.

Conclusion:

Many strategies for postmenopausal osteoporosis screening are effective and cost-effective, including strategies involving screening initiation at age 55 years. No strategy substantially outperforms another.

Primary Funding Source:

National Center for Research Resources.

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