Cross-sectional study of bisphosphonate use in dermatology patients receiving long-term oral corticosteroid therapy

Arch Dermatol. 2006 Jan;142(1):37-41. doi: 10.1001/archderm.142.1.37.


Objective: To examine whether patients had received bisphosphonates at the beginning of planned long-term glucocorticoid therapy, which is recommended by the guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology to prevent glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, prior to referral to a tertiary dermatology clinic.

Design: Cross-sectional study.

Setting: Tertiary referral center.

Patients: We reviewed 35 patients from an established cohort of patients referred with chronic skin diseases that require prolonged glucocorticoid use.

Main outcome measure: The use of osteoporosis prophylaxis was determined by medical chart review and communication with patients.

Results: Of 35 patients, 28 (80%) were not receiving any bisphosphonates at referral. These patients began glucocorticoid therapy 17 months (median, 6 months; range, 1-102 months) prior to referral. The proportion of patients treated with bisphosphonates in our cohort did not change after the guidelines of the American College of Rheumatology were published.

Conclusions: For patients of non-child-bearing potential with dermatological diseases in which prolonged oral corticosteroid treatment is anticipated, bisphosphonates should be prescribed concomitantly with the initiation of glucocorticoid therapy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absorptiometry, Photon
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Glucocorticoids / adverse effects*
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / chemically induced
  • Osteoporosis / diagnostic imaging
  • Osteoporosis / prevention & control*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Skin Diseases / drug therapy*
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Glucocorticoids