Glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis

RMD Open. 2015 Apr 8;1(1):e000014. doi: 10.1136/rmdopen-2014-000014. eCollection 2015.


Corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis is the most common form of secondary osteoporosis and the first cause in young people. Bone loss and increased rate of fractures occur early after the initiation of corticosteroid therapy, and are then related to dosage and treatment duration. The increase in fracture risk is not fully assessed by bone mineral density measurements, as it is also related to alteration of bone quality and increased risk of falls. In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, a treat-to-target strategy focusing on low disease activity including through the use of low dose of prednisone, is a key determinant of bone loss prevention. Bone loss magnitude is variable and there is no clearly identified predictor of the individual risk of fracture. Prevention or treatment of osteoporosis should be considered in all patients who receive prednisone. Bisphosphonates and the anabolic agent parathyroid hormone (1-34) have shown their efficacy in the treatment of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis. Recent international guidelines are available and should guide management of corticosteroid-induced osteoporosis, which remains under-diagnosed and under-treated. Duration of antiosteoporotic treatment should be discussed at the individual level, depending on the subject's characteristics and on the underlying inflammation evolution.

Keywords: Cytokines; Inflammation; Osteoporosis; Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Publication types

  • Review