Osteoporotic Fractures: A Systematic Review of US Healthcare Costs and Resource Utilization
Osteoporotic fractures are costly in terms of both the dollar amount and healthcare utilization. The objective of this review was to systematically synthesize published evidence regarding direct costs associated with the treatment of osteoporosis-related fractures in the US. We conducted a systematic literature review of published studies that used claims databases and economic studies reporting costs associated with osteoporosis-related fractures in the US. Studies published between 1990 and 2011 were systematically searched in PubMed (primary source), Ovid HealthSTAR, EMBASE and the websites of large agencies. Data concerning study design, patient population and cost components assessed were extracted with qualitative assessment of study methods, limitations and conclusions. Cost assessment included direct medical and hospitalization (inpatient) costs. The cost differences by age and gender were examined. Of the 33 included studies, 26 reported an estimated total medical cost and hospital resource use associated with osteoporotic fractures. These studies indicated that, in the year following a fracture, medical and hospitalization costs were 1.6-6.2 higher than pre-fracture costs and 2.2-3.5 times higher than those for matched controls. Analysis of the hospitalization costs by osteoporotic fracture type resulted in hip fractures identified as the most expensive fracture type (unit cost range $US8358-32 195), while wrist and forearm fractures were the least expensive (unit cost range $US1885-12 136). Although incremental fracture costs were generally lower in the elderly than in the younger population, total costs were highest for the older (≥65 years of age) population. Total healthcare costs for fractures were highest for the older female population, but unit fracture costs in women were not consistently found to be higher than for men. The qualitative assessment of the included studies demonstrated that the design and reporting of individual studies were of good quality. However, the findings of this review and comparisons across studies were limited by differences in methodologies used by the different studies to derive costs, the populations included in the studies used and the fracture assessment. Despite the variability in estimates, the literature indicates that osteoporosis-related fractures are associated with high total medical and hospitalization costs in the US. The variability in the cost estimates highlights the importance of comparing the methodologies and the types of costs used when choosing an appropriate unit cost for economic modelling.
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