Background: The supplementation with vitamin D and calcium has been recommended for elderly, specifically those with increased risk of fractures older than 65 years. This study aims to assess the cost-effectiveness of vitamin D and calcium supplementation in elderly women and men with osteoporosis and therefore to assess if this recommendation is justified in terms of cost-effectiveness.
Methods: A validated model for economic evaluations in osteoporosis was used to estimate the cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY) gained of vitamin D/calcium supplementation compared with no treatment. The model was populated with cost and epidemiological data from a Belgian health-care perspective. Analyses were conducted in women and men with a diagnosis of osteoporosis (i.e. bone mineral density T-score ≤-2.5). A literature search was conducted to describe the efficacy of vitamin D and calcium in terms of fracture risk reduction.
Results: The cost per QALY gained of vitamin D/calcium supplementation was estimated at €40 578 and €23 477 in women and men aged 60 years, respectively. These values decreased to €7912 and €10 250 at the age of 70 years and vitamin D and calcium supplementation was cost-saving at the age of 80 years, meaning that treatment cost was less than the costs of treating osteoporotic fractures of the no-treatment group.
Conclusion: This study suggests that vitamin D and calcium supplementation is cost-effective for women and men with osteoporosis aged over 60 years. From an economic perspective, vitamin D and calcium should therefore be administrated in these populations including those also taking other osteoporotic treatments.
© The Author 2014. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the European Public Health Association. All rights reserved.