The near absence of osteoporosis treatment in older men with fractures

Osteoporos Int. 2005 Aug;16(8):953-62. doi: 10.1007/s00198-005-1950-0. Epub 2005 Jun 1.


The burden of osteoporotic fractures in older men is significant. The objectives of our study were to: (1) characterize older men with fractures associated with osteoporosis, (2) determine if medication treatment rates for osteoporosis are improving and (3) identify patient, healthcare benefit and utilization, and clinician characteristics that are significantly associated with treatment. This retrospective cohort study assessed 1,171 men aged 65 or older with any new fracture associated with osteoporosis between 1 January 1998 and 30 June 2001 in a non-profit health maintenance organization in the United States. Multiple logistic regression was used to evaluate pre-fracture factors for their association with osteoporosis treatment in the 6-month post-fracture period. The main outcome measure was pharmacologic treatment for osteoporosis in the 6 months after the index fracture. Subjects' average age was 76.7 years; 3.3% had a diagnosis of osteoporosis and 15.2% a diagnosis or medication associated with secondary osteoporosis. Only 7.1% of the study population and 16.0% of those with a hip or vertebral fracture received a medication for osteoporosis following the index fracture, and treatment rates did not improve over time. In the multivariate model, factors significantly associated with drug treatment were a higher value on the Charlson Comorbidity Index (odds ratio 1.26, 95% confidence interval 1.05-1.51), having an osteoporosis diagnosis (odds ratio 8.11, 95% confidence interval 3.08-21.3), chronic glucocorticoid use (odds ratio 5.37, 95% confidence interval 2.37-12.2) and a vertebral fracture (odds ratio 16.6, 95% confidence interval 7.8-31.4). Bone mineral density measurement was rare (n =13, 1.1%). Our findings suggest that there is under-ascertainment and under-treatment of osteoporosis and modifiable secondary causes in older men with fractures. Information systems merging diagnostic and treatment information can help delineate gaps in patient management. Interventions showing promise in other conditions should be evaluated to improve care for osteoporosis.

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Age of Onset
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density / physiology
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Chi-Square Distribution
  • Cohort Studies
  • Fractures, Bone / epidemiology
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Northwestern United States / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / drug therapy*
  • Osteoporosis / epidemiology
  • Osteoporosis / physiopathology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents