Public Release: 

Fracture liaison services prevent fractures and save lives

Swedish study shows that broader implementation of coordinated services to identify and treat fracture patients for osteoporosis would prevent costly and potentially disabling and life-threatening fractures

International Osteoporosis Foundation

Using a simulation model, Swedish researchers have shown that the implementation of Fracture Liaison Services (FLS) could considerably reduce the human and healthcare costs associated with osteoporotic fractures. The results from the model were presented today at the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis and Musculoskeletal Diseases in Milan.

FLS are coordinated, multi-disciplinary models of care which help ensure that fracture patients are assessed and treated to reduce their risk of subsequent fractures. According to expert opinion and the International Osteoporosis Foundation's Capture the Fracture® programme, FLS services are the most effective method to reduce the risk of secondary fractures.

Worldwide studies show that older adults who have already suffered one fragility fracture (a broken bone caused by a minor fall or bump) are among those most likely to break another bone. In fact they are at double the risk of future fractures compared to those who have not fractured. Left untreated, one in four women who have had a vertebral (spinal) fracture will go on to experience another fracture within one year. Fragility fractures are not just costly to healthcare systems, they also result in pain, disability, loss of quality of life, and - especially for elderly hip fracture sufferers - an increased risk of premature death.

With appropriate assessment and therapy patients who have suffered a first fracture can considerably reduce their risk of subsequent osteoporotic fractures. Despite this, of Swedish women aged 50 years or older who have for the first time received inpatient care for a fracture, only 14.1% currently receive osteoporosis treatment.

In a hypothetical group of 1,000 fracture patients, of which all had an incident fracture and a T-score lower than an age-matched population, and assuming FLS increases the proportion of patients identified with bone mineral testing to 50%, 383 patients started treatment in the FLS.

FLS saved a total of 5.5 hip fractures, 7.3 vertebral fractures 6.0 wrist fractures, and 3.6 other fractures. This represents a saving of 19 quality-adjusted life years and 40 added life years. In terms of health economic cost, while the FLS versus standard care increased assessment and treatment costs, the cost of fractures was reduced by approximately 300 EUR per patient.

Oskar Ström, RPh, PhDc, co-author of the study said, "Our model, based on Swedish costs and fracture risk data, shows that the widespread implementation of FLS has the potential to prevent a large number of fractures in Swedish patients with only a moderate cost per quality-adjusted life-year."

He added, "In Sweden, as elsewhere in the world, the majority of hospitals and clinics are missing the opportunity to respond to a first fracture and thereby to prevent the second and subsequent fractures. FLS need to become an essential component of any broader strategy to promote healthy, active ageing in the growing senior population."


Reference: OC8 Cost effectiveness evaluation of fracture liaison services for the management of osteoporosis in Sweden. E. Jonsson, O. Ström, F. Borgström. Osteoporosis International, Vol. 26, S. 1 2015

This abstract will be highlighted in the WCO Milan 2015 educational slide set, to be available at

About IOF

The International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF) is the world's largest nongovernmental organization dedicated to the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of osteoporosis and related musculoskeletal diseases. IOF members, including committees of scientific researchers, leading companies, as well as more than 200 patient, medical and research societies, work together to make bone, joint and muscle health a worldwide heath care priority.;;


The European Society for Clinical & Economic Aspects of Osteoporosis and Osteoarthritis (ESCEO) is a non-profit organization, dedicated to a close interaction between clinical scientists dealing with rheumatic disorders, pharmaceutical industry developing new compounds in this field, regulators responsible for the registration of such drugs and health policy makers, to integrate the management of osteoporosis and osteoarthritis within the comprehensive perspective of health resources utilization. The objective of ESCEO is to provide practitioners with the latest clinical and economic information, allowing them to organize their daily practice, in an evidence-based medicine perspective, with a cost-conscious perception.

About the World Congress on Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis & Musculoskeletal Diseases

Held jointly by IOF and ESCEO, the Congress is taking place in Milan, Italy from March 26-29, 2015. It is the world's largest annual forum for the presentation of clinical research and new advances in the prevention and management of bone, muscle and joint disorders. The next Congress will be held in Malaga, Spain from April 14-17, 2016. For complete information visit #OsteoCongress

Media contact

Charanjit K. Jagait, PhD
Communications Director, International Osteoporosis Foundation
Tel.: +41 22 994 01 02 * Mob.: +41 79 874 52 08

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