Corticosteroid effects on proximal femur bone loss

J Bone Miner Res. 1990 Dec;5(12):1211-6. doi: 10.1002/jbmr.5650051204.


Prolonged high-dose corticosteroid therapy is known to result in an increased risk of osteoporotic fracture. Reductions in bone density have been demonstrated at the distal radius and lumbar spine in patients receiving corticosteroids; however there have been few studies of bone density in the hip (the most important site of osteoporotic fracture) in this context. To examine the effect of corticosteroids on the hip we measured bone mineral density (BMD) by dual-photon absorptiometry at three sites in the proximal femur as well as the lumbar spine in 32 patients aged 18-77 years who had been treated with corticosteroids (mean daily prednisone dose 12.7 mg) for up to 23 years. BMD was compared with the expected values using age regressions in normal subjects. BMD was significantly reduced in the femoral neck, Ward's triangle, and the trochanteric region (p less than 0.001 all sites). In the lumbar spine BMD was also significantly reduced (p less than 0.001). We also measured BMD serially in 29 patients receiving corticosteroids. BMD measurements were made in 12 patients who had already been treated with long-term corticosteroids at the time of first BMD measurement (chronic group) and from the commencement of corticosteroid therapy in 17 patients (acute group). The mean (+/- SEM) change in BMD (g/cm2 per year) in the lumbar spine and femoral neck were 0.006 +/- 0.006 and -0.021 +/- 0.007, respectively, for the chronic group and -0.02 +/- 0.005 and -0.039 +/- 0.006 for the acute group.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones / adverse effects*
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bone Density / drug effects
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Female
  • Femur / drug effects
  • Fractures, Bone / etiology
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Lumbar Vertebrae / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Osteoporosis / chemically induced*
  • Risk Factors
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenal Cortex Hormones