Introduction: Except for the prevention of osteoporosis, no consensual recommendations are available regarding the therapeutic measures associated with the prescription of long-term corticosteroid therapy. The aim of this study was to assess the internal medicine physicians' practices regarding the prescription of long-term corticosteroid therapy.
Methods: In September 2007, we sent, by e-mail, a questionnaire to 813 internal medicine physicians, members of the French National Society of Internal Medicine. With this questionnaire, we assessed the frequency of prescription of measures sometimes associated with systemic corticosteroids and for whom no consensual recommendations were available (dietary advices, physical training, potassium supplementation, gastric protection, influenza vaccination and prescription of hydrocortisone).
Results: Three hundred and thirty-six out of 813 internal medicine physicians completed the questionnaire (response rate: 41%). The practitioners were predominantly male (71%) and mainly engaged in tertiary centres (53%). Regarding the dietary measures associated with the prescription of corticosteroids, low-sodium diet was recommended by most of the physicians, 69% of them prescribing such dietary regimen in more than 80% of their corticosteroid-treated patients. The concomitant prescription of caloric restriction, low-carbohydrate diet and/or high-protein diet was not consensual. The prescription of muscular physiotherapy was unusual, 74% of physicians prescribing such reeducation in less than 20% of their patients. The frequency of recommendation for daily physical training varied between physicians as well as for potassium supplementation, gastric protection, influenza vaccination or hydrocortisone prescription.
Conclusion: There is no consensus between French internal medicine physicians regarding most of the measures, which must be prescribed in association with a long-term corticosteroid therapy.