Current recommendations for testing of male osteoporosis patients are rather inconsistent, leading to much ambiguity and a further increase in disease burden, according to the authors of a retrospective study that used a cohort of males aged 65 or older with Medicare enrolment who experienced a fracture to characterize this population and determine whether males who had a fracture had been effectively screened and treated.

Before their fragility fracture, 62.8% of the men were known to suffer from musculoskeletal pain, with 48.5% receiving opioids, 22.4% medication for mobility impairment, 44.0% beta blockers, and 35.8% alpha blockers. However, bone mineral density tests had been performed in less than 6.0% within the previous 2 years. The vast majority of these patients (92.8%) were neither diagnosed with nor treated for osteoporosis before their fracture. Only 2.1% received treatment for osteoporosis, while 2.8% were diagnosed but did not receive therapy for osteoporosis and 2.3% were treated without an established diagnosis.

Especially in male patients aged 75 or older, rates for undergoing bone density scans decreased between 2012 (6.0%) and 2014 (4.3%). “Better management of male osteoporosis, including earlier identification of at-risk individuals, is warranted,” said a study coauthor. “That way, they can be screened and identified as having high-risk conditions and low bone density and put on effective therapy to mitigate fracture risk and the subsequent morbidities and mortality that it ensues.”