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Research Letter
Less Is More
March 2016

Osteoporosis Overtreatment in a Regional Health Care System

Author Affiliations
  • 1Department of Family and Community Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento
  • 2The Center for Healthcare Policy and Research, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento
  • 3Department of Internal Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center, Sacramento
  • 4California Department of Health Care Services, Sacramento
JAMA Intern Med. 2016;176(3):391-393. doi:10.1001/jamainternmed.2015.6020

The US Preventive Services Task Force recommends dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) screening for women 65 years or older and for younger women with an elevated risk for fracture.1 However, for women to benefit from this screening, physicians must initiate drug treatment based on the presence of clinically important DXA abnormalities and patient risk. We estimated the frequency of osteoporosis overtreatment in a regional health care system where DXA reports routinely include T scores for anatomic sites (eg, lateral lumbar spine) that the International Society for Clinical Densitometry2 does not recommend for osteoporosis diagnosis.

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