A multidisciplinary renal clinic for corticosteroid-induced bone disease

Pharmacotherapy. 2000 Feb;20(2):206-16. doi: 10.1592/phco.


A multidisciplinary clinic to manage complicated bone disease was established due to the high prevalence of osteoporosis in corticosteroid-treated patients with a history of organ transplantation or chronic glomerulonephritis. Assessments were performed by a renal clinical pharmacist, nephrology nurse, and rheumatologist. Of 70 patients (27 men, 43 women) evaluated from December 1997-June 1999, 37% had osteoporosis (30% spine, 23% hip, 16% both sites) and 34% had a history of fracture. Analysis revealed low 1,25-hydroxyvitamin D3 levels (15 patients), hormone deficiency (16), elevated parathyroid hormone (27), and history of taking at least one other risk drug in addition to corticosteroids (58). Thirty-nine percent of patients had a documented height loss (mean 1.0 in.). Other risk factors included 32 episodes of graft rejection requiring additional corticosteroids, history of smoking (24 patients), poor physical activity (40), and low dietary calcium intake (47). Drug interventions included calcium and/or vitamin D (44 patients), calcitonin (7), alendronate (20), and hormone replacement therapy (11). Preliminary results showed an increase in bone mineral density (a surrogate marker for fracture risk) of 3-5%. An organized clinic to assess osteoporosis risks can unmask a large population of patients with documented bone loss. Appropriate interventions such as drug therapy and lifestyle changes may increase bone mineral density. A long-term benefit of therapy, although not measured in this study, may be a decreased predisposition to fractures and their sequelae.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Bone Density
  • Calcium / blood
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Chronic Disease
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glomerulonephritis / chemically induced
  • Glomerulonephritis / complications
  • Glomerulonephritis / physiopathology*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / complications*
  • Kidney Transplantation / physiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / chemically induced*
  • Risk Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones
  • Calcium, Dietary
  • Calcium