Osteoporosis International

, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 2579–2589

Cost-effective intervention thresholds against osteoporotic fractures based on FRAX® in Switzerland

  • K. Lippuner
  • H. Johansson
  • F. Borgström
  • J. A. Kanis
  • R. Rizzoli
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00198-011-1869-6

Cite this article as:
Lippuner, K., Johansson, H., Borgström, F. et al. Osteoporos Int (2012) 23: 2579. doi:10.1007/s00198-011-1869-6



FRAX-based cost-effective intervention thresholds in the Swiss setting were determined. Assuming a willingness to pay at 2× Gross Domestic Product per capita, an intervention aimed at reducing fracture risk in women and men with a 10-year probability for a major osteoporotic fracture at or above 15% is cost-effective.


The fracture risk assessment algorithm FRAX® has been recently calibrated for Switzerland. The aim of the present analysis was to determine FRAX-based fracture probabilities at which intervention becomes cost-effective.


A previously developed and validated state transition Markov cohort model was populated with Swiss epidemiological and cost input parameters. Cost-effective FRAX-based intervention thresholds (cost-effectiveness approach) and the cost-effectiveness of intervention with alendronate (original molecule) in subjects with a FRAX-based fracture risk equivalent to that of a woman with a prior fragility fracture and no other risk factor (translational approach) were calculated based on the Swiss FRAX model and assuming a willingness to pay of 2 times Gross Domestic Product per capita for one Quality-adjusted Life-Year.


In Swiss women and men aged 50 years and older, drug intervention aimed at decreasing fracture risk was cost-effective with a 10-year probability for a major osteoporotic fracture at or above 13.8% (range 10.8% to 15.0%) and 15.1% (range 9.9% to 19.9%), respectively. Age-dependent variations around these mean values were modest. Using the translational approach, treatment was cost-effective or cost-saving after the age 60 years in women and 55 in men who had previously sustained a fragility fracture. Using the latter approach leads to considerable underuse of the current potential for cost-effective interventions against fractures.


Using a FRAX-based intervention threshold of 15% for both women and men should permit cost-effective access to therapy to patients at high fracture probability based on clinical risk factors and thereby contribute to further reduce the growing burden of osteoporotic fractures in Switzerland.


Alendronate Cost-effectiveness FRAX® Intervention thresholds Osteoporosis Switzerland 10-year fracture probability 

Copyright information

© International Osteoporosis Foundation and National Osteoporosis Foundation 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Lippuner
    • 1
    • 5
  • H. Johansson
    • 2
  • F. Borgström
    • 3
  • J. A. Kanis
    • 2
  • R. Rizzoli
    • 4
  1. 1.Osteoporosis Policlinic, InselspitalBern University Hospital and University of BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.WHO Collaborating Centre for Metabolic Bone DiseasesUniversity of Sheffield Medical SchoolSheffieldUK
  3. 3.LIME/MMCKarolinska InstitutetStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Division of Bone Diseases, Department of Medical SpecialtiesUniversity Hospital and Medical Faculty of GenevaGenevaSwitzerland
  5. 5.University Hospital and University of BernBernSwitzerland

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