Type Size

    The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) Responds to the “Choosing Wisely” Campaign to Cut “Unnecessary” Medical Tests

    Date: April 04, 2012

    Washington, DC – The world’s largest scientific organization of bone researchers, the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, urges patients to consult with their physicians before making the decision to forgo bone density testing based on the “Choosing Wisely” campaign’s new list of procedures that patients should consider skipping.   This blanket recommendation for women under age 65 and men under 70 is potentially misleading for patients and may have adverse health consequences.

    Individuals with certain conditions who need to be tested include younger adults at high risk for fracture based on other causes or medications leading to osteoporosis, or those with prior fracture or clinical risk factors for fracture.  All women should be tested at age 67 and men at age 70.

    We understand the need to reduce medical costs and rein in unnecessary testing.  But policymakers, patients and others should not be tempted to conclude that DXA screening should be skipped altogether because in fact, appropriate DXA screening actually reduces health care costs. 

    Many patients – even those at risk for osteoporosis – are never screened with the result that osteoporosis goes undiagnosed, is untreated and progresses to debilitating fractures that are dangerous to patients and costly to treat.  Among women age 67 or older who had an osteoporosis-related fracture, only 20 percent had either a bone density test or a prescription for a drug to treat or prevent osteoporosis in the six months after the fracture.

    DXA tests help doctors diagnose osteoporosis early – a disease that results in two million Americans suffering a bone fracture and costs our country $19 billion each year.  The number of osteoporotic fractures annually currently exceeds the incidence of heart attack, stroke and breast cancer combined.  Osteoporosis has serious consequences: breaking a hip more than doubles a woman’s risk of death.  

    For more information and to schedule an interview with ASBMR experts, contact Sara Knoll at (301) 652-1558 or sknoll@burnesscommunications.com or Doug Fesler at (202) 367-1161 or dfesler@asbmr.org

    About ASBMR: The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research (ASBMR) is the premier professional, scientific and medical society established to promote excellence in bone and mineral research and to facilitate the translation of that research into clinical practice. The ASBMR has a membership of nearly 4,000 physicians, basic research scientists, and clinical investigators from around the world.