Baillière's Best Practice & Research. Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism vol:25 pages:321-335
Male osteoporosis is an increasingly important public health problem: from age 50 onward, one in three osteoporotic fractures occurs in men and fracture-related morbidity and mortality are even higher than in women. In 50% of osteoporotic men, an underlying cause can be identified (secondary osteoporosis). In the absence of an identifiable etiology, male osteoporosis is referred to as ‘idiopathic osteoporosis’ in men aged 30-70 years and ‘age-related osteoporosis’ in older men, respectively. As in women, estrogen, not testosterone, appears the most important sex steroid regulating male skeletal status. Diagnosis and treatment recommendations are still largely based on bone mineral density (BMD), with osteoporosis defined as a T-score of 2.5 standard deviations below young-adult values. However, there is ongoing discussion as to whether male or female reference ranges should be used and, like in women, treatment decisions are increasingly based on absolute fracture risk estimations rather than on BMD alone. In men, evidence-based data on the efficacy of pharmacologic interventions in reducing fracture risk are convincing but not conclusive. In particular, bisphosphonates and teriparatide seem to be as effective in men as in women.