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Osteoporosis: A Pharmacist's Guide to Interpreting T-Scores

Updated: Aug 29, 2023


Pharmacist working together on osteoporosis

When reviewing Osteoporosis, accurate interpretation of T-scores is crucial for pharmacists to grasp. T-scores quantify bone density by comparing it to that of a healthy adult of the same age and sex, using standard deviations. Understanding these scores enables pharmacists to provide comprehensive care to their patients, and to implement any interventions or referrals needed. Inspired by our recent podcast, I have composed a short article which breaks down these T-scores for pharmacists.


A score of -1 or above:

A T-score of -1 or above indicates that the patient possesses a normal and healthy bone density. This implies that the patient's bone mass is within the expected range for a healthy individual of a similar age and sex.


A score between -1 and -2.5:

When the T-score falls between -1 and -2.5, it is indicated the patient has Osteopenia. Osteopenia signifies a condition characterised by low bone mass; however, it is not yet at the level of Osteoporosis. Identifying this stage enables pharmacists to take appropriate measures to prevent the progression of bone loss and promote bone health.


A score of -2.5 or less:

A T-score of -2.5 or less confirms the presence of Osteoporosis. Patients falling into this category have significantly reduced bone density, putting them at higher risk for fractures and related complications. These patients are considered for bisphosphonate treatment and any interventions to help mitigate the adverse effects of Osteoporosis.


A score of -3.5 or less:

In cases where the T-score reaches -3.5 or less, the patient can be regarded as very high risk. At this stage, immediate specialist referral is warranted to ensure advanced management of the condition.



By understanding T-scores, pharmacists can play a pivotal role in ensuring patients are receiving evidence-based care, referred to appropriate services and followed up appropriately. These timely interventions support the patient in promoting bone health, preventing further bone loss, and addressing the unique needs of patients with varying degrees of bone density.


If you would like to learn more, please follow this link to access our comprehensive CMR Osteoporosis Training Programme: https://cpaweb.org.uk/p/osteoporosis


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