Context: Osteoporotic fractures are associated with premature mortality. Antiresorptive treatment reduces refracture but mortality reduction is unclear.
Objective: The objective of the study was to examine the effect of osteoporosis treatment [bisphosphonates (BP), hormone therapy (HT), and calcium ± vitamin D only (CaD)] on mortality risk.
Design: This was a prospective cohort study (April 1989 to May 2007).
Setting: The study was conducted with community-dwelling elderly (aged 60+ yr) subjects in Dubbo, a semiurban city, Australia.
Subjects: Subjects included 1223 and 819 women and men in the Dubbo Osteoporosis Epidemiology Study.
Main outcome measure: Mortality according to treatment group was recorded.
Results: There were 325 (BP, n = 106; HT, n = 77; CaD, n = 142) women and 37 men (BP, n = 15; CaD, n = 22) on treatment. In women, mortality rates were lower with BP 0.8/100 person-years (0.4, 1.4) and HT 1.2/100 person-years (0.7, 2.1) but not CaD 3.2/100 person-years (2.5, 4.1) vs. no treatment 3.5/100 person-years (3.1, 3.8). Accounting for age, fracture occurrence, comorbidities, quadriceps strength, and bone mineral density, mortality risk remained lower for women on BP [hazard ratio (HR) 0.3 (0.2, 0.6)] but not HT [HR 0.8 (0.4, 1.8)]. For 429 women with fractures, mortality risk was still reduced in the BP group [adjusted HR 0.3 (0.2, 0.7)], not accounted for by a reduction in subsequent fractures. In men, lower mortality rates were observed with BP but not CaD [BP 1.0/100 person-years (0.3, 3.9) and CaD 3.1/100 person-years (1.5, 6.6) vs. no treatment 4.3/100 person-years (3.9, 4.8)]. After adjustment, mortality was similar, although not significant [HR 0.5 (0.1, 2.0)].
Conclusions: Osteoporosis therapy appears to reduce mortality risk in women and possibly men.