Elderly men are significantly undertreated for osteoporosis compared with elderly women, and blacks have the lowest treatment rates among racial/ethnic groups, suggest research published in the Journal of Pharmaceutical Health Services Research.

In the study of 8,465 male and 90,956 female Medicare beneficiaries with osteoporosis, the prevalence of osteoporosis medication use was substantially less in men than in women (25.2% versus 44.3% in 2006).

Blacks had by far the lowest treatment rates (30% for women and 15.5% for men). Whites were in the middle (44.4% for women and 24.5% for men), and Asians had the highest rates (64.4% for women and 37.9% for men). Treatment rates among Hispanic women (46.5%) exceeded that of whites, but the rate for Hispanic men (19.3%) was significantly below that for white men.

Bone mineral density testing significantly increased the probability of osteoporosis treatment use for both sexes, but more so for men, explains a media release from Wiley.

“We found that there was a significant gender disparity in osteoporosis treatment in the elderly in the United States,” said co-author Dr Feng-Hua Ellen Loh, of Touro College, in New York.

“To reduce this disparity and improve the overall osteoporosis management in the elderly in this country, the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services should include men, in addition to women, in the Medicare Part C Star Rating measure for osteoporosis management, and the US Preventive Services Task Force should include elderly men, in addition to women aged 65 years and older, in the recommendation for screening for osteoporosis by using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry.”

[Source: Wiley]