Cost Effectiveness of Ultrasound and Bone Densitometry for Osteoporosis Screening in Post-Menopausal Women
Background: According to a new German guideline, decisions about bisphosphonate treatment for post-menopausal women should be based on 10-year fracture risk, and bone density should be measured by dual x-ray absorptiometry (DXA). Recently, there has been growing interest in quantitative ultrasound (QUS) as a less expensive screening alternative. Objective To determine the cost effectiveness of osteoporosis screening with QUS as a pre-test for DXA and treatment with alendronate compared with (i) immediate access to DXA and (ii) no screening in women of the general population aged 50-90 years in Germany. Methods: A cost-utility analysis and a budget impact analysis were performed from the perspective of the statutory health insurance (SHI). A Markov model with a 1-year cycle length was used to simulate costs and benefits (QALYs), discounted at 3% per annum, over a lifetime. The number of women correctly diagnosed by QUS and DXA as being above a 10-year risk of >30% was estimated for different age groups (50-60, 60-70, 70-80 and 80-90 years, respectively). The robustness of the results was tested by a probabilistic Monte Carlo simulation. Results: Compared with no screening, the cost effectiveness of QUS plus DXA was found to be €3529, €9983, €4382 and €1987 per QALY for 50-, 60-, 70- and 80-year-old women, respectively (year 2006 values). This screening strategy results in annual costs of €96 million or 0.07% of the SHI's annual budget. The cost effectiveness of DXA alone compared with DXA plus QUS is €5331, €60804, €14943 and €3654 per QALY for 50-, 60-, 70- and 80-year-old women, respectively. DXA alone results in a higher number of QALYs in all age groups. The results were robust in the sensitivity analysis. Conclusion: Compared with no screening, the cost effectiveness of QUS and DXA in sequence is very favourable in all age groups. However, direct access to DXA is also a cost-effective option, as it increases the number of QALYs at an acceptable cost compared with pre-testing by QUS (except for women aged 60-70 years). Therefore, QUS as a pre-test for DXA can be clearly recommended only in women aged 60-70 years. For the other age groups, the cost effectiveness of QUS as a pre-test depends on the global budget constraint and the accessibility of DXA.
In order to set up a list of libraries that you have access to,
you must first login
or sign up.
Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by
clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen.