International Journal of Technology Assessment in Health Care


Cost-effectiveness of fracture prevention treatments in the elderly

Rachael L. Fleurence a1
a1 University of York


Objectives: The cost-effectiveness of fracture prevention treatments (vitamin D and calcium and hip protectors) in male and female populations older than seventy years of age in the United-Kingdom was investigated.

Methods: A Markov model was developed to follow up, over lifetime, a hypothetical cohort of males and females at high-risk and general risk of fracture. Patients could sustain hip, wrist, vertebral, and/or other fractures. Fracture rates were obtained from population surveys in the United Kingdom. Effectiveness and quality of life data were identified from the clinical literature. Costs were those incurred by the UK National Health Service, and were obtained from several published sources. Uncertainty was explored through probabilistic sensitivity analysis.

Results: In the general-risk female (male) population, the incremental cost per Quality Adjusted Life Year (QALY) was $11,722 ($47,426) for hip protectors. In the male high-risk population, the incremental cost per QALY was $17,017 for hip protectors. In the female high-risk population, hip protectors were cost-saving. Vitamin D and calcium alone was dominated by hip protectors in all four subgroups.

Conclusions: Current information available on interventions to prevent fractures in the elderly in the United Kingdom, suggests that, at the decision-maker's ceiling ratio of $20,000 per QALY, hip protectors are cost-effective in the general female population and high-risk male population, and cost-saving in the high-risk female population, despite the low compliance rate with the treatment.

Key Words: Economics; Osteoporosis; Vitamin D; Calcium; Hip protectors.