Background: Screening and treatment of glucocorticoid- induced osteoporosis in male patients is less than recommended despite available screening and therapies.
Objectives: We determined if men treated with long-term oral glucocorticoid therapy for any reason receive assessment and therapy for the prevention and treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis.
Methods: A retrospective computer-generated chart review was performed involving all men given prednisone from January 2002 through July 2002. There were 370 patients evaluated from the James A. Haley Veterans Affairs Hospital, Tampa, Florida, a large teaching hospital for the University of South Florida College of Medicine. Charts were reviewed for bone mineral density testing; dose, duration, and indication of glucocorticoid therapy; age of the patients as of January 2002;continuous or intermittent dosing; history of fracture; bone loss prevention medication use, including bisphosphonate, calcitonin, testosterone replacement therapy, calcium, and vitamin D; and the steroid-prescribing and screening practitioner's specialty and sex.
Results: Of the 370 men, 258 used 7.5 mg prednisone or more daily and 295 used glucocorticoids for more than 3 months. Of the 370 men, 163 had a bone mineral density test; 87 were treated with a bisphosphonate. Calcium and vitamin D were given to half of the patients. Of the patients with a normal T-score, 13 of 55 were treated with a bisphosphonate (24%) compared with 24 of 40 (60%) with an osteopenic score and 14 of 21 (67%) with osteoporosis. Of the 46 patients with no score available but indication that it had been ordered or otherwise addressed, 23 patients were treated empirically with a bisphosphonate. Rheumatology screened 75% of their patients, whereas primary care screened 30% of their patients.
Conclusions: Bone mineral density testing was performed or ordered for less than half of the glucocorticoid-treated patients and less than one third were taking bisphosphonate therapy. Further intervention is needed to increase prevention of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis and subsequent risk of fracture.