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Fractures in untreated patients with osteoporosis in Germany: an InGef healthcare insurance database analysis

Osteoporos Int. 2021 Jul 15. doi: 10.1007/s00198-021-06051-w.

Introduction: Osteoporosis is a skeletal disease that manifests as bone mineral density loss and low-trauma fractures. This database analysis describes the characteristics of untreated osteoporosis patients, and their rate of fractures, health resource utilization, and cost burden.

Methods: From the InGef database (2011-2016), eligible patients (≥ 70 years) untreated for osteoporosis were identified via a recorded diagnosis of osteoporosis (ICD-10 codes M80/M81) or an initial fragility fracture (index point). All patients were followed up for fractures post index. Direct costs included inpatient, outpatient, pharmacy, and ancillary care costs.

Results: A total of 144,752 patients (mean age 79 years; 73% female, median follow-up of 3.2 years) met the eligibility criteria; 23% had a history of fractures. Forty-eight percent of patients had cardiac diseases, 32% diabetes, and 27% cerebrovascular disease. Thirty percent (43,514) of patients had at least one post-index fracture; two or more post-index fractures were experienced in 7% (10,262) of patients. Median time from index date to first fracture was 145.5 days. Bisphosphonates were the most prescribed osteoporosis treatment following a first fracture post-index (n = 4102, 9.2%). There was a total of 107,055 patients (74.0%) who had at least one all-cause hospital stay. The total number of fracture-related admissions was 63,595 and that of outpatient visits was 323,460. A total of 34,764 (24%) patients died during follow-up. Costs for fracture-related care for patients directly contributed to a cost burden of €786 million.

Conclusions: Osteoporosis patients and patients who sustain a fragility fracture remain undertreated for osteoporosis, increasing their risk of future fractures. Diagnosing and treating this group of patients should remain a priority to alleviate the clinical and economic burden of osteoporosis-related fractures.

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